Authorities in South Korea raided Apple’s offices in Seoul today, one day ahead of the launch of the iPhone X.
The exact reason for the raid isn’t apparent, although it reportedly concerns Apple’s business practices in the country. Nonetheless, it raises questions about whether the South Korean government may be trying to hurt Apple prior to the release of one of its most sought-after products in years.
As we noted recently, Samsung’s home country experienced a massive surge of orders for the iPhone X when it was made available for pre-order, ahead of its November 24 launch. In total, the allocated iPhone X shipments for the country sold out within minutes.
Nonetheless, the South Korean press has been heavily critical of Apple — dedicating plenty of column inches to the device’s high price point, and even suggesting a possible recall of the devices for nonsensical reasons.
The idea that a government might try and hurt a foreign company because it conflicts with homegrown products sounds outlandish, but this isn’t the first time such a thing has been suggested.
Roger Kay, president of the tech analysis firm Endpoint Technologies Associates, has previously accused South Korea of having a “protectionist agenda,” and suggested that the Korea Fair Trade Commission has been known for, “slapping spurious charges on foreign companies.”
Earlier this year, Samsung Electronics’ vice chairman Lee Jae-yong was sentenced to five years in prison for corruption — for his part in a bribery scandal involving Park Geun-hye, the country’s former president. While that does show that the country is looking to clean up its act, it also serves to underline just how closely linked the South Korean government has been with the country’s leading businesses.