Apple Inc. ended up on the less than desirable end of a little protest against the US dissent this week in China – Apple’s greatest overseas market and a nation where foreign firms have faced numerous opposition. The US firm was caught up in a political brawl, where it was targeted as an image of alleged foul play following a global ruling against Chinese territorial claims.
Protests against Apple products
Following the protest, a few unofficial Apple stores were picketed, and several social media users urged each other to demolish Apple merchandises, says a report from Reuters. Though the protests were brief, many people are worried that this could effect Apple in the long-term, referring to the generally year-long droop in the sales of the Japanese cars after a strategic debate that provoked extensive boycotts and opposition.
However, analyst Nicole Peng – a researcher at Canalys – sees no impact of recent protests on Apple’s sales. “There’s not much Apple or any other foreign firm can do to prevent such patriotic protests,” said Peng. “These incidents happen every few years.”
“Apple was targeted in the latest protest by virtue of its country of origin, which in turn was regarded as the root of a perceived affront,” says Reuters.
On Chinese social media, the video of the protest went viral with the anti-Apple remarks flooding Weibo along with the pictures of crushed iPhones. The state-controlled media also provided some backing.
Shan Mimi – a 23-year-old assistant at a Shanghai law firm – called it “cheap nationalism and outright stupidity.” But, “if you were to offer me an (upcoming) iPhone 7, then I would gladly smash my iPhone 6!”
What provoked the protests?
Earlier this month, Hague said that it found no legitimate premise for China’s case to a large portion of the South China Sea, provoking local media to call the Court a “puppet” of outside strengths, and blame the US for favoring Philippines – which filed the case – against China.
A week later in Suining – in the eastern province of Jiangsu – over 100 protestors protested against four unofficial Apple Inc. dealers for about three hours, urging customers not to buy genuine Apple goods on sales. Store owner Zhu Yawei told Reuters that they chanted “boycott American products and kick iPhones out of China,” but “nothing really happened: no fights, no smashing.”
Apple’s unending struggle in China
China is presently the world’s largest smartphone market, and Apple’s dependency on growing middle class is continuously increasing as it struggles to battle with domestic makers of cheaper phones, for example Xiaomi and Huawei.
Adding to Apple’s challenges are brushes with regulators. Apple’s film service and online books were blocked earlier this year, and last month, its iPhone designs were ruled to have violated a local patent.
Apple’s sales in China dropped around 25% in January-March from the same time frame a year earlier. On Tuesday, the US firm is scheduled to declare April-June earnings that are broadly anticipated to be boring due to a shortage of product launches.
As of now, there has been no comments from Apple Inc. on the matter.