Apple Targeted in China by Anti-U.S. Protestors

Apple became a target of anti-U.S. protest in China this week, following an international ruling against the country’s controversial territorial claims.

Reuters reports that a “handful” of unofficial Apple stores were picketed and social media users…

china-flagApple became a target of anti-U.S. protest in China this week, following an international ruling against the country’s controversial territorial claims.

Reuters reports that a “handful” of unofficial Apple stores were picketed and social media users encouraged each other to destroy their Apple products, as the company became a symbol of perceived injustice in its biggest overseas market.

Earlier this month, The Hague declared that China has no legal basis for its claim to most of the South China Sea, prompting state media to call the international court a “puppet” of external forces, and accuse the U.S. of turning the Philippines (which filed the case) against China.

About a week later, on Tuesday, over 100 protestors picketed four unofficial Apple dealers in the eastern province of Jiangsu, urging customers not to buy the genuine Apple goods on sale.

“They chanted, ‘boycott American products and kick iPhones out of China,'” store owner Zhu Yawei told Reuters. “But nothing really happened: no fights, no smashing.”

Meanwhile, anti-Apple sentiment flooded Chinese social media as people took to microblogging site Weibo to upload pictures of what they described as their smashed iPhones.

Not all Apple users shared the same view, however, and state media called for restraint following the limited protests.

“It’s cheap nationalism and outright stupidity,” said Shan Mimi, a 23-year-old assistant at a Shanghai law firm. “But if you were to offer me an (upcoming) iPhone 7, then I would gladly smash my iPhone 6!”

“I didn’t smash my iPhone,” one Weibo user told Reuters. “All I did was find a photo (of a smashed handset) on the internet and let off some steam. Boycotting Apple would only make Chinese people lose their jobs – many work for Apple.”

Though the protests were small, some observers expressed concern about the impact they could have on Apple in the longer term, citing protests over the country’s territorial dispute with Japan in 2012 that turned violent. Japanese automakers suffered plummeting sales in China as a result of the unrest and cut manufacturing in the country by half.

“There’s not much Apple or any other foreign firm can do to prevent such patriotic protests,” Canalys research analyst Nicole Peng told Reuters. “These incidents happen every few years.”

Apple has faced a number of setbacks in China in recent months, including patent disputes, online rights infringement cases, product security reviews, and iTunes store closures. The company has also seen it lose market share due to increased competition from domestic rivals such as Huawei, Vivo and Oppo.

Despite the challenges, Apple continues to expand its retail presence in the country and strategically invest in the market to better understand its wider potential.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tag: China

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Apple and Other Tech Companies Subject to Security Reviews in China

china-flagProducts sold by Apple have recently been subjected to security reviews conducted by a committee associated with China’s Cyberspace Administration, reports The New York Times.

The security reviews aim to determine whether the products “pose potential security threats” to China and Chinese consumers and have required Apple employees to answer questions about encryption and data storage in person. Other foreign technology companies who operate in China are also being required to submit to the reviews.

According to The New York Times, the security reviews are notable because they are targeting consumer software and gadgets that are popular in China. In other countries, similar security reviews take place, but are limited to products that are used by the military or government officials. Chinese officials have not explained the reasoning behind the checks, nor have the reviews been formally disclosed, reportedly leading tech companies and the U.S. government to worry they’re being used to obtain vital security info.

Ultimately, the reviews could be used to block products without explanation or to extract trade secrets in exchange for market access. Those secrets could be leaked to Chinese competitors or expose vulnerabilities, which, in turn, Chinese hackers could exploit.

Further, tech companies are concerned that the reviews could set a precedent and that other countries will follow suit, each demanding different checks that would not only be costly but also put the companies at risk of having to hand over further secrets in exchange for market access.

It is not known what specific information Chinese authorities have asked for under the review process, and there is no indication that technology companies have provided sensitive information like source code. In a statement, the Cyberspace Administration of China told The New York Times that many countries carry out security reviews and that its inspections do not target “any particular country or product.”

During a recent congressional hearing, Apple legal chief Bruce Sewell said China had asked Apple to hand over source code within the last two years but the company refused to do so. “I want to be very clear on this,” Sewell said. “We have not provided source code to the Chinese government.”

After the United States, Greater China, including Taiwan and Hong Kong, is Apple’s second largest market by revenue. Apple is eager to grow its business in the country, but Apple has faced regulatory issues in recent weeks, including the forced shutdown of iTunes Movies and iBooks Stores in the country.

In a move that can perhaps be seen as an effort to smooth relations with China, Apple recently announced a $1 billion investment in Chinese ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing and just this afternoon, it announced a major GarageBand update with support for Chinese musical instruments.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tag: China

Discuss this article in our forums

china-flagProducts sold by Apple have recently been subjected to security reviews conducted by a committee associated with China’s Cyberspace Administration, reports The New York Times.

The security reviews aim to determine whether the products “pose potential security threats” to China and Chinese consumers and have required Apple employees to answer questions about encryption and data storage in person. Other foreign technology companies who operate in China are also being required to submit to the reviews.

According to The New York Times, the security reviews are notable because they are targeting consumer software and gadgets that are popular in China. In other countries, similar security reviews take place, but are limited to products that are used by the military or government officials. Chinese officials have not explained the reasoning behind the checks, nor have the reviews been formally disclosed, reportedly leading tech companies and the U.S. government to worry they’re being used to obtain vital security info.

Ultimately, the reviews could be used to block products without explanation or to extract trade secrets in exchange for market access. Those secrets could be leaked to Chinese competitors or expose vulnerabilities, which, in turn, Chinese hackers could exploit.

Further, tech companies are concerned that the reviews could set a precedent and that other countries will follow suit, each demanding different checks that would not only be costly but also put the companies at risk of having to hand over further secrets in exchange for market access.

It is not known what specific information Chinese authorities have asked for under the review process, and there is no indication that technology companies have provided sensitive information like source code. In a statement, the Cyberspace Administration of China told The New York Times that many countries carry out security reviews and that its inspections do not target “any particular country or product.”

During a recent congressional hearing, Apple legal chief Bruce Sewell said China had asked Apple to hand over source code within the last two years but the company refused to do so. “I want to be very clear on this,” Sewell said. “We have not provided source code to the Chinese government.”

After the United States, Greater China, including Taiwan and Hong Kong, is Apple’s second largest market by revenue. Apple is eager to grow its business in the country, but Apple has faced regulatory issues in recent weeks, including the forced shutdown of iTunes Movies and iBooks Stores in the country.

In a move that can perhaps be seen as an effort to smooth relations with China, Apple recently announced a $1 billion investment in Chinese ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing and just this afternoon, it announced a major GarageBand update with support for Chinese musical instruments.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tag: China

Discuss this article in our forums