Did China Just Declare War on Apple? Sure Looks Like It.
On Friday, Chinese state media reported that, from January of last year to the end of last month, more than 20,000 college students in the central city of Wuhan applied for 160 million yuan of “high-interest rate loans” from Home Credit China. The finance company was charging rates of up to 47.12% for one-year money.
Beijing’s saturation coverage mentioned Home Credit China’s unsavory lending practices, but that was not the primary point of the reporting. The reporting, based on a Xinhua News Agency dispatch, complained that Chinese students, who were generally portrayed as victims, were buying “fancy electronic products,” especially from Apple.
The Xinhua reporting was notable in that it was the second attack on the iconic American brand in as many weeks. On the 15th of this month—World Consumer Rights Day—China Central Television severely criticized Apple’s warranty practices.
The state broadcaster’s annual investigative program, “3.15,” noted that the company discriminated against Chinese iPhone owners, offering shorter guarantees than in other countries, using refurbished rather than new parts, and shirking after-sale obligations. Last August, Apple modified its policies, but Xinhua said they were still “unfair.” The company’s repair practices “caused some provincial consumer watchdogs to include the firm on a ‘company integrity’ blacklist.”