Ouch. The Chinese authorities just shot themselves in the foot.
If there is one thing that infuriates foreign companies doing business in China, it is the habit that local competitors have of stealing their ideas so as to copy their products, and then turn them out at half the price.
And if there is one accusation that the Chinese government rejects with especial vigor, it is the charge that Beijing is not doing enough to combat the theft of intellectual property.
Unfortunately, it seems that nobody told the editors of The People’s Daily, the official organ of the ruling Communist party.
That newspaper ran a rather snide commentary the other day about Apple products (many of which are assembled in China) and those who buy them, disdaining iPad users in particular as slaves to a passing fad.
But the columnist’s main argument against iPads? That they are too legal.
“There are many disadvantages” to the gadgets, it wrote. “For example you cannot install pirate software on them, you cannot download [free] music, and you need to pay for movies you watch on them.”
Well in that case, of course, you’d have to be a fool to buy an iPad, wouldn’t you? Consumers who take this advice and buy themselves a Microsoft-made gizmo can be secure in the knowledge that everything they illegally download onto it, they download with the blessing of The People’s Daily.