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Unwelcome guests to Apple

Posted May. 26, 2017 07:10,   

Updated May. 26, 2017 07:20


I visited Hong Kong at the invitation of Morgan Stanley in the autumn of 2003, a half-year after Hong Kong actor and singer Leslie Cheung killed himself. It may sound strange but I was surprised to find the window of the room on the 24th floor of Mandarin Oriental Hotel where he fell off way too small. The seminar was fully scheduled except for the first evening and I even had no chance to laugh for three days. Steven Roach, a globally renowned economist, warned of China’s risk and Chinese economist Andy Xie raised a question on why Korea does not increase supply to curb the rising housing prices. The seminar is no longer here. Contrary to the investment bank’s promotional purposes, reporters wrote only informative stories, which might have made the bank think the seminar as a losing business.

Google, which has emerged as the leader in the fourth industrial revolution with its AI AlphaGo, relies on "consumers’ good intention." Its motto is “Don’t be evil.” It is not because Google founder Larry Page is a good person but because he cannot operate enormous projects at his company without communication. Google has been inviting media and developers from the world to the Google I/O developer conference last week to get consumers’ agreement with Google Lens, a new technology.

Communication with the market matters to Apple. Apple excluded the Korean media from its invitation list for its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose on June 5 for the reason that the ticket price, which is around 1.8 million won or 1,607 dollars, could potentially violate the Korean anti-bribery law. Some say that Korean media are unlikely to be invited to the iPhone 8 launch event in September. Korean media are the only unwelcome guests to Apple.

The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission released an authoritative interpretation on the invitation by Apple on Thursday that it would not violate the anti-bribery law. In other words, it thinks it is fine for non-Korean companies to provide Korean journalists flights and accommodations equivalent to those provided for journalists from other countries for the promotion of the launch event of a new product. It could have been a problem had Apple excluded Korea without raising this question to the commission. The bigger problem is the ambiguity of the anti-graft law. Prime Minister-nominee Lee Nak-yeon said, “Now is the time to review the revision of the anti-bribery law.” The law came into effect amid controversy on Sept. 28 last year, but it seems like it was just a few days ago.