Apple's products are overwhelmingly popular in the land where most of the devices are created -- China. But recent moves by the ruling Chinese Communist Party could spell trouble for Apple and other Western firms that currently command the smartphone market. The latest such move came yesterday when the government-controlled People's Daily newspaper ran a front-page article accusing the company of turning down journalists' requests for interviews and providing an "empty and self-praising" reply to a critical report broadcast by state-run China Central Television.
According to an article in today's Wall Street Journal, this latest in a series of attacks suggests that the Chinese government is promoting the growth of home-grown smartphone companies like Lenovo, Huawei and ZTE, a move that could spell trouble for Apple. The company was recently accused by China Central Television of providing customer-service policies for Chinese customers that were different from those in other countries.
Apple responded to the accusation on its website on Saturday, noting that "Apple's Chinese warranty is more or less the same as in the US and all over the world." The People's Daily article quoted a student who was upset with Apple's "double standards," saying that the company repairs broken phones in China but gives customers in other countries new replacement phones instead.
Apple is not the only smartphone powerhouse being singled out by the Chinese government. Earlier this month, a government research institute published a report saying that the country relied too much on the Android smartphone operating system and accused Google of using its dominance in the smartphone market to discriminate against Chinese competition.
The Verge reports that the Chinese government has approached Canonical for a custom version of Ubuntu to act as a national OS. The country is also pursuing standards that, if adopted, would force smartphone manufacturers to help the government identify users and track their use of apps.