Chinese tech plant deep in debt, wants $2 billion from Apple
Shenzen’s Proview Technology threatens to sue Apple for $2 billion over iPad trademark
Shenzen’s Proview Technology is deep in debt. So deep, in fact, that it appears to be taking any measure necessary to pull itself out. The Chinese company has been in an ongoing battle with Apple over its iPad trademark name, even after Apple settled with the company in 2010. Most recently, Proview noted that it’s in the process of choosing between three different American law firms to take its case.
Let’s take a quick minute to recap how this all started in the first place.
Proview Technology’s Taiwanese affiliate registered the iPad trademark name in China (among other countries) before Apple ever began selling its popular product. Apple ended up buying the rights for the global trademark, but Proview claims its Taiwan affiliate had no right to give it up. A Hong Kong court ruled in favor of Apple in 2010, stating the agreement was valid.
According to Proview Technology chief executive Yang Rongshan, the attempt to sue America’s beloved tech giant has nothing to do with the fact that the Shenzen plant is—to put it very lightly—strapped for cash. Rongshan says it’s purely a matter of rights, that he’s concerned with protecting China’s alleged trademark on the iPad name. His goal, he says, is to stop Apple from selling the iPad altogether in China (talk about irony).
But, for the sake of his argument, let’s look at the numbers.
Chris Chang over at Mic Gadget reports that Proview International net current liabilities amount to 2.87 billion Yuan (that’s 456 million U.S. dollars), while its overdue loans reach a staggering 3.8 billion Yuan (603 million U.S. dollars). And that trademark it’s fighting so hard for? It’s already been seized as mortgage to eight different banks (Bank of China, Minsheng Bank, China Development Bank, Guandong Development Bank, Bank of Communications, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, Huaxia Bank and Shenzen Ping An Bank), along with all of the company’s assets.
Proview may claim it’s been wronged by Apple and the company’s own Taiwanese affiliates. But given the stark numbers (and these desolate photos), it looks more like a drastic measure to put itself back in the black.