“Chinese Internet users are crying foul over the perceived unfair treatment doled out to Apple Inc by state-run media which has actively criticized the smartphone maker for the past two weeks over its warranty policy,” Melanie Lee reports for Reuters. “Apple and Volkswagen AG were singled out on March 15 by state-run China Central Television in its annual corporate malpractice expose. CCTV accused Apple of having discriminatory after-sales service in China compared to the rest of the world. Other state-run outlets have also run articles and editorials criticizing Apple. On Wednesday, the Communist Party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, ran an editorial attacking Apple for being filled with ‘unparalleled arrogance.’”

Lee reports, “The editorial was rapidly shared by thousands of micro bloggers on Sina Corp’s Weibo platform, but panned by many users who discredited the newspaper. ‘Shameless People’s Daily jealously scolding people… A brain-dead product of the Cultural Revolution, old and so disgusting,’ said one micro blogger. Other users were upset at the targeting of a foreign firm over a petty issue. ‘We ordinary people feel that Apple is good and the government is trash. There’s obviously an implemented warranty policy, why must (Apple) be treated differently?’ said one user.”

The Tiananmen Square/June Fourth Incident, 1989“The intense push-back from Internet users indicates the strong reputation of Apple in China and shows the waning ability of China’s state propaganda apparatus to manage opinion online, analysts say,” Lee reports. “Apple said in a statement on Saturday that it respected Chinese consumers and that its warranty policies were roughly the same worldwide with specific adjustments to adhere to Chinese law. ‘Apple has come out relatively unscathed in this situation because consumers have had largely positive experiences with the brand,’ said Benjamin Cavender, associate principal analyst at China Market Research in Shanghai.”

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