Chinese smartphone CEO who made his name dissing Apple declared a ‘deadbeat’

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Chinese smartphone CEO who made his name dissing Apple declared a 'deadbeat'
Smartisan CEO said that Apple lost its soul after Steve Jobs died.
Photo: Allogo Wang/Flickr CC

The founder of a Chinese smartphone company which has been a vocal critic of Apple has landed on China’s official list of deadbeats. This is a national database held by China’s Supreme Court which can be described as a credit blacklist.

Smartisan Technology CEO Luo Yonghao is barred from taking flights or high-speed train journeys. He can also no longer stay in luxury hotels, spend money in nightclubs, or buy property.

In a post on Weibo, 49-year-old Yonghao said he will work to pay off the debt. He also apologized to Smartisan’s creditors, investors and users. His post was titled “Confessions from a deadbeat CEO.” He wrote that he had vouched for a loan of more than 100 million yuan ($14.2 million) and raised tens of millions to try and save Smartisan at its “most difficult” period.

China introduced its “discredited individuals” list in 2013. This was shortly before China’s State Council introduced its social credit system plan. This proposal aims to influence citizens by penalizing bad behaviour and rewarding good deeds. In addition to banning spending on so-called luxuries, in some instances people on the list also have a special ringtone put on their phones to mark them out.

“It’s even worse than doing time because at least there’s a limit to a prison sentence,” one person previously described the scheme. “Being on the list means that as long as you can’t clear your debts in full, your name will always be there.”

Currently there are around 13 million people on the discredited individual list.

Smartisan CEO made his name dissing Apple

Smartisan was founded in 2012. Since then, however, it has lost money year after year. In 2018, Smartisan gained a miniscule 0.6 percent of China’s smartphone market share. Despite this, Luo Yonghao has made an outsized noise (at least on Apple blogs) by slamming the world’s biggest tech company.

Luo was a noted fan of Steve Jobs. However, he claims that Apple has “lost its soul” in the years since Jobs died. This has led to a decline in the design and performance of Apple products, he says. According to Reuters, he has also said that he would one day acquire Apple.

Reuters said that Luo’s “discredited individual” status came from Smartisan’s failure to comply with previous court rulings. This followed a contractual dispute with a local electronics firm.

Source: South China Morning Post