Apple has found itself the target of a raid by South Korean authorities on the day before the iPhone X was due to launch in the country. Apple's headquarters in the country was raided, with investigators looking for information on Apple's business practices. South Korea isn’t known as the friendliest of countries when it comes to foreign companies in the smartphone realm.
The raid is sure to have some wondering if the real goal here was to try and dampen the success of the iPhone X launch. That smartphone has been selling extremely well globally and will put pressure on South Korean-native firms Samsung and LG. Apple and the South Korean Fair Trade commission have a history of butting heads in the country.
South Korean authorities are currently investigating whether Apple has unfair deals in place with local phone networks within the country; that investigation was opened last year. Reports indicate the raid that happened yesterday is part of that ongoing probe into Apple's practices. Apple has also worked to address other concerns of having unfair contracts in place with South Korean business that are used for repairing iPhone and other Apple devices.
Back in 2015, Apple captured 33% of the domestic South Korean smartphone market leading the Korean Fair Trade commission to launch an investigation to determine if foreign companies were hurting the domestic smartphone market. Metro.co.uk reports that the president of tech analytics firm Endpoint Technologies, Roger Kay, has accused South Korea of having a protectionist agenda previously.
Kay previously wrote, "The Korea Fair Trade Commission has pretty much run amok in recent years, slapping spurious charges on foreign companies."
There have been iron clad instances of South Korean businessmen bribing government officials with the clearest cut case of abuse being Lee Jae-yong who was chairman of Samsung and landed in jail for five years on corruption charges for paying for political favors. That investigation led to the impeachment of South Korean president Park Geun-hye.