China is one of the largest markets for Apple, and now there seems to be a storm brewing there, because Apple happened to mention China, Hong Kong and Taiwan separately along with the regional flags. This has been picked up as an issue by the Chinese people as well as the country’s media, who are now demanding an explanation from Apple.
China’s leading media outlet China Central Television (CCTV), has voiced its opinion saying that doing this is likely to “hurt” Apple, and its fortunes in China, and could “cause unnecessary legal and political troubles.” CCTV said, “People with a little bit of common sense will list ‘Hong Kong, China,’ and ‘Taiwan, China,’ on official occasions. How can such a serious and professional occasion like the Apple keynote not do this?”
It added, “A company known for its rigor and service excellence must be very sophisticated in every detail. Details about a country’s territorial sovereignty must go through rigorous verification before they can be released to the public. If this kind of sloppiness is allowed to continue, it will not only hurt the company’s reputation and market demand, but also cause unnecessary political and legal troubles.”
The other observation that CCTV made was that Apple was careful enough to depict the US sovereignty over the US Virgin Islands by mentioning US. But CCTV happened to miss the fact, that US Virgin Islands is how it is named, additionally Puerto Rico which is a US territory was mentioned without the US prefix.
CCTV wrote on Weibo, “How difficult is it to add a ‘China’ in front of ‘Taiwan’?” Others joined in as well. Global Times which is another state run media, wrote, “Apple, what do you mean by this?”. Apple’s own Weibo page saw a tirade of comments asking for an explanation for this, and some have even termed the company as ‘ill’. People are now threatening to return Apple devices for disrespecting China.
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Apple has not made a comment on the present topic yet, but the company does stand to lose a lot in China, especially since it has been losing its foothold to other local companies like Huawei and Xiaomi.