Every year on World Consumer Rights Day (March 15), government-controlled China Central Television (CCTV) broadcasts a special report (in Chinese) damning companies for abusing Chinese consumers. This year the targets included Apple. Apple was accused of giving Chinese consumers worse service than customers in other countries, specifically of giving them replacements that included cases from their old phone, while customers in the UK would get a 100% new product.
During the broadcast, celebrity reactions on Sina Weibo (a microblogging site) included the following (from China social media translation site Ministry of Tofu):
Apple played so many tricks in customer service? As an Apple fan, I am really hurt… Is what you’ve done worthy of Jobs the head (Steve Jobs)? Worthy of the young man who sold one kidney? So you bully customers just because you are big! To be posted at around 8:20.
Netizens quickly picked up on the “To be posted at around 8.20”, noticed that other famous microbloggers had made similar posts at around the same time and began speculating that a coordinated campaign of paying opinion leaders (a not unknown phenomenon in Chinese social media) to smear Apple had been prepared in advance of the show being broadcast, with the game being given away by the sloppy copying & pasting of one of them.
With the Chinese government already concerned about foreign-owned Android operating system being so popular, could it be that Apple & iOS are also in the crosshairs for replacement by a domestic alternative?