Ben Cavender CMR 3
Ben Cavender

Apple got itself into trouble with the government last month, but a bigger fight is looming, says business analyst Ben Cavender in Quartz. First, the Chinese government has noted Apple iTunes does not comply with its censorship regime. And convincing Chinese consumers they have to pay for content might even be a larger barrier for business.


But there is little chance that anything related to Apple’s businesses in China—its second-largest market after the United States—will stay under the radar now.

“It’s almost like a glitch in the Matrix … they’ve sort of used up their luck in terms of not being noticed,” said Ben Cavender, associate principal at China Market Research Group in Shanghai. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple comes under much more pressure to conform and toe the line in terms of censorship and getting approval from the government for what’s in their store.”

However, a bit more censorship in China might not be disastrous for Apple, provided it can navigate the treacherous PR and government relations challenges like those it encountered this week. A far bigger hurdle will be getting Chinese consumers to actually pay for apps, music, and video.

“The biggest problem is getting people to pay for content. A lot of people are jailbreaking their phones and getting copycat programs, or popular games with their features stripped out,” he said.

More in Quartz.

Ben Cavender is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

Getting around China’s internet censorship is also a challenge for both businesses and individuals. The China Weekly Hangout discussed the problems in using VPN‘s in December 2012 with Sam Xu, John R. Otto, Gabriel Rueck and Fons Tuinstra; are the recent hiccups in VPN-usage just tests? Has China a kill button for the internet and will it use it? Or will there be a two-class internet, one for corporate users, and one for home users?

An overview of all hangouts you can find here. 

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