China’s state-own TV network CCTV ran an annual live consumer protection show that hammers well known brand for their shoddy products, scams or non-existant after sale service. This year, their target was Apple. One of the topic brought up was Apple’s replacement program for faulty iPhones where they will exchange it with a refurbished (not new) set with the old backcover so that the warranty will not reset but continue from where the old set left off. (Here in Singapore, you will get a refurbished set and with new serial number
After the show, China’s Sina Weibo was ablaze with criticisms of Apple about their practices and a number of them came from celebrities. But one that came from Peter Ho (何润东), got local netizens thinking that it might be a coordinated campaign by CCTV to get celebrities to post such anti-Apple sentiments. It read like this:
#315isLive# Wow, Apple has so many tricks in its after-sales services. As an Apple fan, I’m hurt. You think this would be acceptable to Steve Jobs? Or to those young people who sold their kidneys [to buy iPads]? It’s really true that big chains treat customers poorly. Post around 8:20.
Within minutes, that first post was removed and re-posted without the words “Post around 8:20″, followed quickly by another post which says that his account was hacked and illegally posted about Apple.
Weibo users who spotted the first post quickly linked that last sentence as a sign that it was a paid, coordinated effort by CCTV to get celebrities to endorse the sentiments put forth on the show. The hashtag #postaround820 became viral and many denounce the hypocrisy surrounding the postings of those celebrities. Ironically many of these were posted from either an iPhone or iPad.
What started off as a tirade against Apple became a PR disaster for CCTV, Sina Weibo and the celebrities involved. Many are speculating the agenda behind all these – from Samsung’s involvement to some arm-wrangling by CCTV to get Apple to advertise on their network – nobody will actually know. But this will not stop Apple’s inroad into the Chinese market.
(via The Atlantic, TeaLeafNation, Lady.163.com, OffBeatChina)