Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is in the crosshairs of one of the countries it is targeting for expansion: China. The tech giant raked in approximately $23.8 billion in the country last year, which amounted to about 15 percent of its revenue.
Apple CEO Tim Cook visited the country earlier this year, for the second time in just 10 months. He has even said that the company would make a “greater investment” in the country and almost doubled its presence there with the addition of more Apple stores.
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So what does China have against Apple? A couple of things, apparently.
Xinhua, the country’s state media network, essentially said Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is preying on Chinese college students by offering them “fancy electronic products.” Meanwhile as Forbes points out, finance company Home Credit China is offering student loans at up to 47.12 percent for a single year.
Xinhua also claimed earlier this month that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) discriminates against owners of its products in China. The media outlet said that the company repaired products that are under warranty with refurbished rather than new parts. It also said that the company did not take care of its Chinese customers after they purchased its products.
The Wall Street Journal also noted that People’s Daily, the newspaper of the Communist Party in China, also blasted Apple, this time targeting the company’s customer service practices. The article claims that Apple does not grant journalists’ interviews and that it issued an “empty and self-praising” statement in response to the report on Xinhua television, which it also praised.
It’s important to note that while Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) battle for the top two spots in the global smartphone market share, there are a number of Chinese smartphone makers that would love to take over Apple’s spot. Analysts told The Wall Street Journal that China is likely leveling these reputation attacks at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) as a way to discourage its citizens from buying Apple products and indirectly encouraging them to buy products made by Chinese companies.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) isn’t the only foreign company to face intense criticism from Chinese state-run media in recent years. The company has also targeted Volkswagen AG (PINK:VLKAY) (ETR:VOW3) (FRA:VOW3) and Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM).