As back-handed compliments go, it was something of a classic. Last week Lenovo’s boss Liu Chuanzhi stated: “We are lucky that Steve Jobs has such a bad temper and doesn’t care about China. If Apple were to spend the same effort on the Chinese consumer as we do, we would be in trouble.” (Which roughly translates as: if Jobs gave a toss about China, we’d have no chance).
Apple hasn’t responded to Liu’s comments directly, but it did open a new store in Shanghai last Saturday – the 1,500 square metre outlet has the widest variety of products of any Apple store worldwide.
Meanwhile, Liu’s punchy comment quickly triggered debate in China’s cyberspace. He’ll be disappointed that most participants seem to support Apple.
One internet user says on Caixin’s site that Liu should stop gossiping about Apple and start thinking about Lenovo’s overseas strategy. While Apple has steadily grown market share, the mainland PC maker has seen its sales slip in the US and Europe. “If we say Apple loses China, then Lenovo is losing the world,” the commentator says.
The US giant’s profits also far exceed Lenovo’s, say other netizens. Last year, Lenovo made $129 million, compared with Apple’s $3 billion profit in the first quarter of this year. Nevertheless, others think Apple may now have more on its mind than the China market. The controversial antenna on its iPhone 4 is probably grabbing the bulk of the firm’s attention – indeed its propensity to drop calls will no doubt be testing Jobs’ famed temper.
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