Apple CEO Tim Cook reported to Chinese government, accused of false advertising in Shanghai

Samuel Howarth, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

The Apple chief's trip to Shanghai was generally well received.

Apple CEO Tim Cook made a high-profile appearance at the opening of a new flagship store in Shanghai on the evening of March 21. The move is seen as Cook's attempt to reaffirm Apple's commitment to the Chinese supply chain and market.

During the visit, Cook met with three Apple suppliers, including BYD Electronics, Lens Technology, and Changying Precision. Cook's visit to China is a clear signal that Apple will not abandon the Chinese market and it emphasizes the importance of the Chinese supply chain to his company.

Cook's visit to Shanghai coincides with a poor sales performance for Apple in China. The trip has been interpreted as an attempt to woo Chinese customers back into the company's fold.

Cook was quoted by Chinese state-owned media outlet the Global Times saying "There's no supply chain in the world that's more critical to us than China." Cook wrote on his Weibo account, "I'm always so happy to be back in this remarkable city."

Cook's visit was mostly well received with Shanghai locals queueing up to take a selfie with him. Some reactions were less positive, however.

Cook denounced

One Chinese netizen commented on a video Cook posted on his Weibo account of his Shanghai meeting with Chinese actor Zheng Kai. The user with the Weibo handle @明天_Manon accused Cook of faking a chance encounter with Zheng.

The outraged user said "This isn't a chance encounter. [Cook] brought a cameraman. This is false advertising."

The user tagged China's Consumer's Association, the government organization formed to protect consumer rights in the country. "I hope this will be dealt with promptly," he wrote.

Credit: Weibo, Manon

Credit: Weibo, Manon

According to market research firm Counterpoint, Apple experienced a 24% decline in sales in China, its largest overseas market, during the first six weeks of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023. Apple's market share in China decreased to 16% in 2024, dropping from second to fourth place compared to its 19% share in 2023.