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Apple Inc. Now a Beloved Brand of China's Environmental Activists

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Amazon.com, Inc. and McDonald's Corporation also make the news.

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China Watch: Top Business News From the World's Second Largest Economy

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has suffered bad press in China this year because of customer issues, but one group that has become enamored with the brand is China's environmental activists, who now laud Apple for being "one of the most proactive IT suppliers" of all.

High-profile Chinese environmental activist Ma Jun praised Apple for being open to cooperating with his group -- the Beijing-based Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs -- on environmental work, reported Fortune.

Ma's group shares pollution information on Chinese firms who are linked in the supply chain with Western companies so that they understand the environmental impact of the production process. Given the size of Apple, its cooperation in Ma's work sends a positive message to the rest of the industry.

"They have gone the furthest in motivating key suppliers [to adopt green policies]," Ma said.

The change in Apple's approach to the environmental impact of its production process is typically attributed to CEO Tim Cook, who "has been supportive of Apple's cooperation with environmental groups in a way that [Steve] Jobs was not," noted Fortune.

Amazon Hardware Comes to China

Customers in China will soon be able to get their hands on the Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) confirmed this week, reported the Wall Street Journal.

The move comes as Amazon has gradually expanded in China; the e-commerce giant opened a Chinese-language app store in May after previously introducing an online bookstore and cloud storage facilities.

Amazon will face tough competition in its bid to conquer the all-important China market -- and not just from usual suspects like Apple and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (OTCMKTS:SSNLF). Local firms like Alibaba.com Limited (HKG:1688) and Beijing Jingdong Century Trading will likely provide the stiffest competition to Amazon, which has yet to establish itself in China. Amazon currently has only a 2.8% share in China's business-to-consumer online retail market.

McDonald's Plans Further Expansion, Introduces Customized Food Items

The world's top fast food chain will add some 75,000 new employees in China this year as it works toward its goal of having more than 2,000 restaurants in China by 2014.

To cater to local tastes, McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) will also add rice dishes such as chicken and beef rice wraps to its China menu on June 10, said Kenneth Chan, CEO of McDonald's China.

"Our new dining options are examples of how McDonald's innovates to bring more options to our Chinese customers, because that's what they want," said Chan, according to Xinhua. Chan added, however, that McDonald's core menu of staples like the Big Mac and McChicken will remain unchanged.

Boeing Dreamliner Arrives in China

The first-ever The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) 787 Dreamliner was delivered to China last Sunday. The 228-seat plane, operated by China Southern Airlines Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:ZNH), landed at Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou after a delay of close to five years.

China Southern is the tenth airline to take delivery of the Dreamliner. The plane will serve international customers from Guangzhou to Paris, Vancouver, London, and Auckland.

The airline is also the only one that operates both the Dreamliner and the Airbus A380, noted Xinhua. China Southern first took delivery of the double-deck A380 in 2011.

China is expected to become a key market for Boeing and Airbus going forward. An earlier Boeing report projected that the mainland will buy 5,260 new commercial aircrafts worth some $670 billion over the next 20 years.

Twitter: @sterlingwong
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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