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China state media blasts 'unparalleled arrogance' of Apple

By Sophie Brown, for CNN
updated 6:12 AM EDT, Thu March 28, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Chinese media accused Apple of providing inferior service to local customers
  • Netizens suspect celebrities were recruited to criticize Apple on social media
  • Apple says its practices in China are "completely legal"
  • A leading Chinese newspaper lambasted Apple's "unparalleled arrogance" over complaints

Hong Kong (CNN) -- State-run media in China has lambasted Apple Inc. for "unparalleled arrogance" over alleged complaints about customer service in China.

The Wednesday opinion piece in the Chinese state-run newspaper, the People's Daily, is one of a series of attacks against the U.S. tech giant by Chinese media since a closely watched consumer affairs show aired on the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV on March 15.

CCTV alleged that Apple provides inferior service to Chinese customers, such as a warranty policy that is different from other countries.

"If you insist on challenging Chinese customers' love and patience, and continue to be heedless, then your business will eventually decline no matter how glamorous or successful your brand is," said the editorial, one of several articles published this week in the People's Daily critical of Apple.

Apple declined to comment on the editorial. In a previous statement made Saturday after the CCTV exposé aired, Apple said that its practices in China are "completely legal."

"We have been working to exceed consumers' expectations, and we highly value every customer's criticism and suggestions," the statement said.

"Apple's Chinese warranty is more or less the same as in the U.S. and all over the world."

Apple also says it provides a 90-day guarantee on repairs, which is three times longer than required under Chinese law.

The People's Daily editorial also called for China to regulate the practices of foreign businesses and to protect its own consumers and the domestic market.

Apple wasn't the only foreign company targeted in the CCTV broadcast. Volkswagen announced last week it would recall nearly 385,000 cars in China after the CCTV program questioned the safety of the direct shift gearbox in some Volkswagen models.

READ MORE: Volkswagen to recall 384,181 vehicles in China

After the CCTV broadcast aired, Chinese celebrities posted comments on social media sites in support of the program. Children's literature writer Zheng Yuanjie wrote, "I hope the missing part on Apple's logo isn't their conscience," according to the South China Morning Post.

But a comment from the Weibo account of Taiwanese-American actor, Peter Ho, that included the words "To be published around 8.20pm" raised suspicions that the Chinese stars had been recruited to post negative comments.

READ MORE: Chinese TV caught asking celebrities to bash Apple

Ho later deleted the comment and claimed his account had been hacked.

Social media sites in China have been flooded with criticism against the negative media reports about Apple, claiming that the press is avoiding more serious problems affecting the country.

READ: Chinese iPhone loyalists blast Party's anti-Apple campaign

Analysts say that the smear campaign could be linked to Apple's expansion in the Chinese market. China is Apple's fastest growing market and second largest after the U.S.

Apple's sales in the greater China region, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, rose 67% last year to $6.93 billion from $4.08 billion in 2011.

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