The death of Apple founder Steve Jobs is being felt strongly in Asia, where the products he pioneered are largely made and immensely popular.
Millions of tributes to Jobs appeared Thursday on microblog sites in China, where members of the world’s largest on-line community routinely line up for days to purchase each new Apple product. Copyright pirates have not only cloned iPhones and iPads but even opened counterfeit Apple stores.
In Beijing, university student Li Zilong, 20, worried that without Jobs, Apple may not be able to continue turning out products like the newly released iPhone 4S.
“It’s such a tragedy. I hope the successors will take good care of the Apple company, if they don’t take care of the company, Apple could collapse all of a sudden. Jobs was a legendary figure; every company needs a spiritual leader, without Jobs I don’t know if Apple can give us more products like the classic product, iPhone4,” Li said.
Apple produces many of its products at the sprawling Foxconn factory complex in China’s southern Guangdong province.
Jobs’ loss was also being felt at an Apple store in Seoul, South Korea, where employee Lee Joo-young, 37, described his feelings. “I don’t personally know him, but I feel like our hero is gone now. I feel heartbroken,” he said.
In Hong Kong, business executive Francis Lun was more pragmatic, saying he feels personally saddened bit not too worried about the impact on the stock market.
“And he is the only one corporate person or computer executive who can command a fan base stretching across the world among all strata of society. And when an icon like this passed away and we all feel terrible sad. And as far as stock market concerned, I think you will find people who will shot Apple shares, but other than that, I really don’t think there is really that much effect on the stock market and business world,” he said.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard added her own words of tribute, saying the technologies that Jobs pioneered have shaped the economy of the future.
“Look, I’ve been saddened to hear that news. I mean, here we are at a Future Jobs Forum, and the jobs of the future are going to be shaped by innovation, and we hear the news of the loss of an incredible global innovator. I mean, it’s not too much to say he literally changed our world,” Gillard noted.