Business

China takes aim at Apple again over warranty ‘scandal’

If at first you don’t succeed, try again with bigger guns.

A week after being outed for a clumsy state-media attack on Apple that backfired, China appears to be at it again. The Communist Party’s main propaganda outlet, the People’s Daily, attacked Apple a second time for a “brewing scandal” over the company’s iPhone and computer repair policies.

Ostensibly, the complaint is that Apple’s warranties on computers run for one year, while Chinese law states they should be at least two years. Further, while Apple replaces defective iPhones in other countries within the warranty period, in China it only replaces the electronics while keeping the same back cover.

“Foreign companies in China should obey Chinese law,” Chinese lawyer Ge Youshan was quoted as saying in the story. “If their clauses are better than Chinese regulations, that’s OK. But in this case, Apple’s warranty clauses apparently violate China’s laws.”

When the official Chinese party organs are attacking you, it’s generally safe to assume the story is more than the story. Which is probably why Apple responded on its Chinese-language website to those concerns, saying that the company does replace entire phones in some cases, and that its iPhone warranties are 90 days, three times longer than Chinese law requires.

In addition, Apple says it is company policy to fully comply with all local regulations and that some specific practices in Apple’s warranties will be tweaked for China.

Even in the last week, this is not the first time People’s Daily has taken a swing at Apple. On March 21, the news agency said that Apple pursuit “lures 20,000 students into ‘usury,'” or loans they cannot repay.

Sixty percent of Apple sales are overseas, and China is Apple’s number-two market after the U.S, growing by two-thirds last quarter. Despite that, the company has been unable to secure a deal with China Mobile — probably the largest mobile carrier on the planet, with 700 million subscribers — to offer its iPhones.

With government sentiment running the way it is, that deal might be getting even more unlikely.

Image credits: Aelius Aaron/ShutterStock

Hat tip: Wall Street Journal


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