Is China Launching a War against Apple?

David Monahan

March 24, 2013



Did China Just Declare War On Apple?  Sure Looks Like It.


The international market for goods is one of the most analyzed aspects of world economies. As we have seen recently, the smart phone market is rapidly expanding and it seems as though everyone either has an iPhone or an Android phone. These items allow owners to have 24/7 Internet access to do work, watch television, and keep up to date with Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites.



Recently in China, it has been noted that tens of thousands of students were forced to take out high-interest loans up to 47.12% per year. Despite this statistic, these Chinese students were buying expensive electronics, especially from Apple. Over the past two weeks, there have been two strong attacks against Apple criticizing their warrantee practices. On World Consumer Rights Day, these criticisms were made public when they claimed that Apple was discriminating against Chinese consumers by giving them shorter guarantees and using refurbished parts instead of new ones. Although Apple recently altered its policies for them, they still believe it is unfair. On Weibo, a social networking site, there were 50,000 hits insulting Apple within the first hour of the programming.

There have been some accusations against CCTV, the network that started the outrage against Apple, that they hired celebrities to bash Apple on Weibo. For more details, read this article on the subject (CCTV and Weibo).


Is Beijing beginning a campaign against Apple? Just look at its recent issues. They have continuously denounced foreign products, including big name companies Volkswagen and McDonalds. Apple executives did not see this coming and may be very concerned, considering China is their second largest market. Is this the beginning of a war?


7 thoughts on “Is China Launching a War against Apple?

  1. It’s amazing that iPhones, Androids and other smart phones have become so sought after and are viewed as such essential items for people to have that students with loans charging an interest rate 47% still NEED to have these products. Technological products seem to have become a necessity for teenagers and students in the world today.
    If the criticisms regarding Apple’s warrantee practices are true and if they really are using refurbished parts instead of new ones, then Apple really needs to reconsider it’s business practices. A company with that much financial backing and stability should not be essentially stealing from its customers. When I look around my college campus, it seems that everyone has an Apple computer, an iPhone and an iPod. If I didn’t know better, it would almost seem like Apple has a monopoly on the technology market in the US. With China being Apple’s second largest market, I would hope that some of these criticisms against Apple will be proven false, and if not, I certainly hope that Apple starts to use new parts and gives the consumer what they paid for.
    Although I do not think that China is starting a war against Apple, it’s refreshing to see that some people are keeping this company on its toes. It is very easy to simply just take everything they do at face value and be overwhelmingly impressed by how great Apple’s products are. I hope the executives of Apple remedy the situation do what is necessary to make sure that they do not have to deal with these criticisms again.

  2. It seems as though CCTV has taken offense to many different companies, as shown through the first article, and that Apple is just it’s latest victim. While this may show that Apple probably should re-evaluate it’s warranty policies, especially within China, if the sources are true about the attacks to the other names companies, specifically YUM Brand, then it would seem that Apple is just the latest target in their war against outside brands.
    The United States also has issues such as this, with many people and politicians talking about how America needs to create jobs for its people. With unemployment so high, many groups discuss the need for American based factories and other jobs that will help to lower unemployment. Some of these discussions even include trying to get people to buy American made products as opposed to outside made products, and this is promoted through the media, specifically ABC’s World News segment that airs yearly “Made In The USA”, where people attempt to buy only Made in the USA products. If these types exist within China, then you can see their motivation for their attacks on outside companies. Their tactics might not be the best, but you can see why they are doing what they are doing.

  3. The battle going on between Apple and China seems heated and deserving of attention! I think that while a war may not break out, a financial battle will certainly ensue. China contributes greatly to Apple’s success as a consumer and a producer. If Apple hopes to keep this relationship alive, they better change their ways, and quick. As you mentioned, China has a very recent history of not allowing big companies to take advantage of its people. I also found it interesting that Chinese students still purchased phones despite the high percentage of loans they are taking out. I think this has become a global phenomenon. People around the world crave the newest and latest technology and they are willing to spend more money on it then things that could be considered necessity. Using money wisely seems to be less and less prevalent. America especially is known for its excess of consumerism. Of more concern, however, is whether or not America well have to get involved with Apple and China’s disagreements. 50,000 hits in the first hour, as you noted, is not something that will easily be ignored. I think you outlined the issue well and the blog flows cohesively with an introduction, followed by the issue, and finished with possible outcomes. My only wish is that you included your own opinion on the issue or maybe some experts opinions. While the blog certainly incites thought on the matter, reading an opinion for either you or an expert could help assert your point further.

  4. These are all very interesting points about China’s so-called war on Apple. I think it is very concerning that Apple might be using substandard parts to repair iPhones in China, and it should be investigated further. However, I don’t think this is China’s main concern. This article directly responds to the blog’s article: Based on this article, it seems that China is more worried about what the article calls “modern protectionism.” China has required several companies to partner with local companies in order to do business in an attempt to keep their own businesses profitable. This policy doesn’t apply just to tech companies, either. Accounting firms in China also are required to partner with a local firm, which has proved troublesome for Deloitte because after accounting errors occurred, Deloitte claimed that the Chinese-based branch was responsible.

    Overall, I think China wants to make sure its citizens are protected from monopolies, and currently they view Apple as a threat. Everyone wants an iPhone, which means China wants to make sure its citizens don’t allow it to obtain a monopoly over the Chinese market. They fear that the information that becomes available through a smartphone is too valuable to allow outside companies to have access to. By allowing smartphone companies to gain more control in the Chinese market, they would also gain more data on consumer trends. This could lead to other companies capitalizing on data they received through the smartphones’ network, and potentially lead to monopolization in other industries as well.

  5. China is Apple’s second biggest market after the U.S. China has a history of promoting its own national brands and companies to its people, Lenovo being a prime example. The real question revolves around which is stronger; Apple’s brand of China’s government? I honestly believe that China cannot stop Apple’s popularity even if it put a large effort behind it.

  6. This was a very interesting post. From an American perspective, it is shocking to think that the Apple brand is not popular somewhere. In the United States, it seems that Apple can do no wrong and if they do it is cleared up pretty quickly. I was surprised that this was not the same in China, especially since that is where Apple does so much of its manufacturing. Although I think that using the word “war” is extreme, Apple should be concerned about its relationship with China.

  7. As brianfannon’s comment mentioned, it is strange to hear of an effort against Apple, when in America they are the holy grail of, well, everything. The more our daily life is revolving around technology, the more Apple seems to become the center of it. I’ve never really thought about what could happen if we were to see an anti-Apple movement that was actually effective, but the fact that China holds around one-fifth of our world’s population gives them all the more potential. 2011 saw massive revolt in Egypt and other countries whose origins (organization of protests, etc.) are said to have started via Facebook and other social networking sites, which are commonly used on the devices that companies like Apple produce. It would be interesting to see a boycott of Apple products, made possible by Apple devices.

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