Chinese internet split over Qualcomm’s Apple ban

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The Chinese internet is divided after a court in the eastern Chinese city of Fuzhou banned the sale of some iPhone models following accusations that the company infringed on disputed Qualcomm patents.

Qualcomm, an American semiconductor and telecommunications equipment producer, brought the case, relating to two patents in photo editing and touch-screen swiping tech, against Apple in 2017.

On Chinese microblogging platform Weibo, a group of netizens advocated for the formal implementation of the ban, though Apple lodged an appeal earlier today. So far, the court has released no decision regarding Apple’s appeal, and no government department has commented on the lawsuit.

“Great job! [We should] do more instead of just talk. Are foreigners’ slaves happy?” netizen Muyang Yezi, commented on an article by Chinese Sina Tech reporting the issue, referring to Chinese people that are believed to blindly attempt to please foreigners.

“Release Huawei (Meng) and [we’ll] loosen Apple [charges], or there’s more to come,” netizen Haishipangzi said. The comment came amid the bail hearing of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who faces fraud charges related to violating US sanctions on Iran.

Other netizens refused to relate the court’s decision with Huawei’s charge directly. “Apple is made in China, in fact. Think about workers at Foxconn,” said netizen Axianer.

Qualcomm is the major semiconductor and telecommunications manufacturer behind Chinese smartphone brands including Xiaomi and OnePlus, which use the company’s components.  State-backed Huawei is also an important client for Qualcomm, though the two companies also quarreled over patents in March.

Other netizens voiced concerns over possible retaliation by the US. The court that ruled against Apple also issued an injunction against US chipmaker Micron in July. The ruling prevented Micron’s Shanghai branch to sell products that were suspected for infringing on patents owned by Fujian Jinhua, an integrated circuit manufacturer which was accused of stealing Micron IP by the US.

The US Commerce Department later banned Fujian Jinhua from sourcing American-made components and software.