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Apple double standards due to ‘lax rules’

(Global Times)

10:53, April 03, 2013

Analysts said Tuesday that Apple's apology for its after-sales policy suggests it "cannot afford to lose the China market," but noted the "double standards" taken by multinationals are a result of the country's lack of related standards and lax supervision.

The apology in a signed letter by Apple's CEO Tim Cook said the company has rectified its much criticized after-sales policies in China, more than two weeks after China Central Television (CCTV) on March 15 accused the American electronics giant of providing second-rate after-sales services in the country.

Sun Peilin, a senior IT industry researcher from the Beijing-based consulting company Analysys International, told the Global Times that Cook values the China market and regards it as an important driver of the company's future growth.

Liu Baocheng, director of the Center for International Business Ethics at the University of International Business and Economics, told the Global Times that the apology came against the backdrop of fierce competition with Samsung and indigenous brands in the market.

"It cannot afford to lose the market or tarnish its reputation," Liu said.

According to CNN, Glen Yeung, an analyst from Citigroup, Monday compared the case to the experience of Hewlett-Packard in 2010, in which the company saw a 50-percent reduction in its share in China's personal computer market following an exposé on quality problems in its products. "If Apple were to lose as much as 50 percent of their China market share, this would equate to $13.1 billion in revenues and $3.62 in earnings per share," Yeung said.

Liu noted that although Apple's "double standards" were "ethically deplorable," it was not legally liable for providing second-rate after-sales services to Chinese consumers.

In fact, Apple is the latest in a series of multinationals that has been accused of such problems.

In 1999, Japanese electronic manufacturer Toshiba was reported to have different policies for Chinese and American consumers.

"We should recognize that it is our own laws and regulations that have led to the double standards," said Liu.

However, Liu noted that at this point it would be difficult for the government to introduce higher standards, given domestic enterprises' weak capacity.

According to Apple's revamped after-sales policy on its website, Mac computers bought in East China's Zhejiang Province enjoy a three-year warranty, while the same products bought in other parts of the country only have a two-year warranty.

The three-year warranty for personal computers is stipulated in the local regulations of Zhejiang.

Liu also pointed out that China's judicial system lacks protective mechanisms for consumers. "China doesn't allow class action, and only those who are direct victims are allowed to lodge a lawsuit and the burden of proof lies on the consumer."

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:ChenLidan、Ye Xin)

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