Yesterday’s announcement by Steve Jobs, the founder and CEO of Apple, that he was retiring effective immediately had a ripple effect that went far beyond Cupertino. Apple products have gained a wide following in China in the past year and the news became a hot topic on Internet forums. From CNN:
A typical message said “three apples have changed the world. One seduced Eva, one awakened Newton, the third one is in the hands of Jobs.” Another message posted by @ Jinzheng said “no matter what happens to the third Apple, the world became wonderful because of your (Jobs) existence.”
For many senior managers in Chinese high-tech companies, Jobs is a role model. If a CEO wears jeans with T-shirts tucked in instead of a suit and tie, said one Chinese observer, his sartorial taste will likely to be called “Jobs style”.
And the Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time Report translates more examples of popular opinion of Jobs expressed online:
In an unscientific Weibo poll that had attracted roughly 4,000 responses by Thursday afternoon, users were split on how Mr. Jobs’s decision would affect their view of Apple. Slightly more than a third said they would continue to support the company, while nearly a quarter wondered whether Apple would continue to be Apple now that its founder had stepped away.
In a separate user poll attracting nearly 5,000 responses, 20% said they would stop buying Apple products with Mr. Jobs no longer at the helm, while 49% said they would at least buy the iPhone5.
At least one commenter was convinced the company would be OK. “I believe that in the last few years, Apple has already developed its own soul as a company,” wrote a Weibo user going by the name Big Boy Playing with a Remote Control Car. “It’s the same as with a prosperous nation: You can’t rely solely on one generation of leaders. You need to tap the soul of the people.”