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Dear Apple (pt. 3)

Kheng-Yin Beh
PO Box 491
75670, Melaka


April 27, 2012


Apple Inc.
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014


Dear Apple,

It has come to my attention that the iBookstore in Malaysia does not include an option of Chinese language. Currently, only 5 languages other than English, namely French, German, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish are available to the Malaysian readers. In fact, these five non-English languages are far less common than Chinese to the Malaysians, especially the ethnic Chinese, which make up almost one fourth of Malaysia’s population.

The people of our neighboring country, Singapore, however, are given a choice of Chinese books. I wonder if this is because Apple has considered its ethnic demographics, where the Chinese are dominant.

I would love to access the Chinese books in the iBookstore, but I also understand Apple will not include the Chinese category just because of one person’s request. And I certainly have no intention to launch an online petition, which is basically useless and a waste of time. Instead I’ve decided to present demographic facts and comparisons, in hopes that Apple would consider my request based on facts.

The total population of Singapore to date is 5.35 million. The ethnic Chinese make up 76.8% of the population, but not all Chinese Singaporeans are Chinese-literate. According to Statistics Singapore, the Census of Population 2010, the Chinese literacy among Singaporeans is 65%, which is about 3.48 million people. On the other hand, the total population of Malaysia to date is 29.18 million. The ethnic Chinese make up 23.7% of the population. Just like Chinese Singaporeans, not all Chinese Malaysians are Chinese-literate. Unfortunately there is no official data on the Chinese literacy among Malaysians. But let’s make a safe estimation based on the fact that there are significantly more Chinese children receiving Chinese education than those receiving English or Malay education at primary level. Says the Chinese literacy among Chinese Malaysians were 60%, that would be about 4.15 million people, which is a lot more than its counterpart in Singapore.

While the market share of iOS devices in Singapore is larger than that in Malaysia, I believe the latter is catching up. The iOS devices are still the most popular mobile devices among Malaysians, and the Chinese make the majority of the user population. On that account I don’t think the demand for Chinese language support is negligible.

I am not a champion of Chinese or Chinese language, but I think it’s perfectly reasonable for Apple to bring Chinese books to Malaysia (it’s not like we’re Texas!). Since Apple has been paying a lot of attention to the Chinese support in recent years, which is no doubt a welcome gesture for the Greater China, why not extend the support to more Chinese communities around the world?


Sincerely,


Kheng-Yin Beh

Sponsor:

Reply:

14 May 2012

Kheng-Yin Beh
PO Box 491
Melaka 75670
Malaysia


Re: Case number: 313740796


Dear Kheng-Yin Beh,


Thank you for your recent correspondence to Apple, regarding iBookstore.

Support for the iBookstore is available at http://www.apple.com/asia/support/itunes/contact.html.

Please click on the appropriate topic to email iTunes store customer service. Our support experts will respond directly to your questions.

lf you do not have internet access or are having trouble accessing the website, please contact Apple on 1 300 321 456 for assistance between 9am to 9pm (AEST) Monday to Friday; 9am to 6pm Saturday.

For your reference, your request has been documented in Apple case number 313740796.

Thank you for your interest in Apple.

Sincerely,

[signed]

Angie
Apple

 

Apple
No. 7 Ang Mo Kio Street 64
Singapore 569086
www.asia.apple.com

Apple (pt. 3) website: www.apple.com

Scan of the letter from Apple.

Commentary:

I suppose Angie is from customer service department. I doubt if she actually took time to read my letter. Her letter is basically saying: “Please use the contact form on our website or call us if you don’t have Internet access. We don’t entertain letters.” I wrote Apple a pleading, I didn’t ask any question and certainly I didn’t expect a case number. The reply appears a very monotone and inflexible customer support. It sounds more like they don’t bother and with a case number they would just sweep my request under the carpet. The worst thing? It’s Angie’s apparent assumption that I live in Stone Age with no Internet access to Apple website just because I wrote a letter! This seems to concern Angie more than what I wrote in my letter, and it pisses me off.

To address my pleading or request, what Apple could have at least done is give me some indication if they will look into bringing iBookStore to Malaysia, not this kind of boilerplate reply that does little help. Why is it so difficult to be straightforward?

By Kheng-Yin Beh

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