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China Apple

Chinese Government Suspected of Unleashing Astroturfers Against Apple 194

Posted by samzenpus
from the bad-for-business dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A piece attacking Apple's treatment of Chinese consumers that aired on official government TV last week was followed by a wave of anti-Apple posts on Weibo (China's equivalent of Twitter) by Chinese celebrities. On the China-watching site Tea Leaf Nation, Liz Carter reports that sharp-eyed Weibo users noticed something funny about one such post from an actor and singer named Peter Ho: 'Cannot believe Apple is playing so many dirty tricks in customer service. As an Apple fan, I feel hurt...Need to post around 8:20 pm.' What was this 'need to post at 8:20 pm' business? After Weibo lit up with sarcastic tags such as #PostAround820, Ho claimed (rather unconvincingly) that someone must have hacked his account and posted the anti-Apple 'Weibo'. Mike Elgan at CultOfMac notes a parallel with the Chinese government's rough handling of Google in 2009, which led to Google's closing of its mainland operations. Google claimed that government commissioned hackers had apparently stolen search engine source code, Gmail messages and other user data. An earlier article by Elgan on Datamation notes the uneasy business relationship between Apple and China."
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Chinese Government Suspected of Unleashing Astroturfers Against Apple

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 17, 2013 @11:17AM (#43196931)

    I've studied Chinese history extensively (even have my Bachelor's in it). While I would not put it past the Chinese government to do this, at the same time it's a complete and total fallacy to assume that a totalitarian government akin to the Chinese one can stay in power without the strong support of a sizable minority and the tacit support or disinterest of the majority of people. Generally my experience with the Chinese shows that there are 1-3 out of every ten that support the government's actions, which is typically enough to keep them in power as long as the remaining 7 are apathetic.

    Also, the Government is facing an existential crisis. They've built their legitimacy to rule on the idea that they could keep growing and prosper, and it worked as they built an export economy built on cheap labor. Now with the global economic downturn they've been unable to maintain the steady job growth, while at the same time many Chinese are prospering and looking for more than just a low paying factory job. They're trying to build a consumer economy but that shift takes time, so they've turned to nationalism instead to redirect any dissension in the populace outwards instead of inwards; see the whole Senkaku island spat between China and Japan. This is another example of it; they're turning their people ever so slightly against America to help unify them.

  • by jhoegl (638955) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @11:19AM (#43196943)
    The difference is the manipulation is Corp vs Corp, with traces and links to sub corps or hired PR firms. Where in China... anyone with seemingly no links or reason will start crap.
    Wait a minute... Is China the most epic troll Country in the world?
  • Re:Why government? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Sunday March 17, 2013 @11:23AM (#43196963)

    Also why do you think the Chinese government is some sort of magic all seeing, all acting entity?

    There is a perception that the Chinese government is a monolithic entity, with unity of purpose. This is not at all the case. Because the communist party has a monopoly on political power, everyone with ambition has to be in it. So the CCP includes people of every ideological hue, from hardcore Marxists to free market libertarians. These people often work in the same departments. Many Chinese government agencies are run by committee, rather than having a single person in charge, which results in muddled policies as factions maneuver to obstruct each other.

    I spent several years working in Shanghai, and found that the same is true in most Chinese businesses. The amount of office politics, infighting and backstabbing is probably an order of magnitude worse than anything I have experienced in the US.

  • Re:Why government? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mc6809e (214243) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @11:41AM (#43197053)

    There is a perception that the Chinese government is a monolithic entity, with unity of purpose. This is not at all the case. Because the communist party has a monopoly on political power, everyone with ambition has to be in it. So the CCP includes people of every ideological hue, from hardcore Marxists to free market libertarians.

    Yeah, but the one thing they all have in common is nationalism, racism, and xenophobia.

    Don't think for a second that if you're just nice to them they'll treat you fairly. They only see it as a weakness to exploit.

    The only exception might be the people of Hong Kong, a great city, but even there most have benevolent feelings of superiority.

  • Re:Why government? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Luckyo (1726890) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @12:01PM (#43197185)

    I wasn't talking about US. It's quite interesting that you inferred that particular country from the thread talking about companies.

    Western companies have long since evolved to be "multinational" to avoid being too vulnerable to influence of any single country.

  • Re:Foxconn (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @12:12PM (#43197231)

    "If Chinese GOVERNMENT wanted to hurt Apple, they'd start there."

    It's government all right. And no, they most definitely would NOT start there.

    The Chinese government is a crowd of sneaky back-stabbers. They want our business, but they also want to steal all our secrets. So they leave the businesses (mainly) alone, at least to our faces. Then they hack and grab when they think we aren't looking.

    It's far past time we dropped China as a Most Favored Nation trading partner, and brought our manufacturing back home.

  • 50 Cent Brigade (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 17, 2013 @12:25PM (#43197301)

    The Chinese Communist Party has a group of people (mostly off-duty journalists, students, and such) called the 50 Cent Brigade. They pay them the equivalent of 50 cents every time they post a comment online to sway public opinion in the direction of the Party. This group probably isn't involved with the celebrities posting stuff on Twtitter, but the intention would be the same. Keep in mind that "Perception Management" is a big thing for the Chinese Communist Party--it's why they keep the entire country's media on such a short leash, why the censor the Internet, and why they censor keywords on their permitted social media platforms.

  • Re:Why government? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sessamoid (165542) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @10:42PM (#43200383)

    Uh, if you follow the money, Peter Ho is a paid spokesperson for Samsung...

    I'm amazed that this very important fact hasn't been mentioned or discussed at all in the comments except by the parent post. Follow the money trail? It probably ends at Samsung, a company that spends more on marketing and advertising than Apple by around a factor of 10.

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