Mixed reviews for library Apple center
Updated: 2011-09-17 09:11
By Cao Yin (China Daily)
The Apple experience center in Peking University's library opened on Wednesday and has already sparked heated debate among students over commercialization. [Photo/ China Daily]
BEIJING - Peking University has become the latest prestigious institution to be accused of selling out, after allowing Apple to set up shop in its library.
The glass-walled Apple Experience Center, which opened on Wednesday, occupies about 40 square meters of a third-floor study room. Inside, visitors can get to grips with a variety of products, including iPads and Mac computers.
"Much of Apple's software is helpful to students with different majors," said a staff member at the center, which is a joint venture between the college and Image Group, an authorized reseller of Apple products.
"Students can learn from our apps here and download whatever they need," said the assistant, who did not want to be identified.
The center has received mixed reviews from students at the college, including some who say they fear it is more likely geared toward promoting Apple products than helping people with their studies.
"A library is a place where students should have as many sources to study from as possible," said graduate student Bai Chen, adding that a modern learning center should have this kind of service on offer.
As she spoke, others looked around the center, while some took photos with their cell phones.
However, Kong Ying, a postgraduate economics major, was not impressed and argued that the center "goes against the spirit of the library".
"It's so weird to see an electronics shop in a study area," she said. "In our university, many students have iPhones and iPads, so don't you think the center is unnecessary?"
When asked if students would be able to buy iPads at the center, staff members firmly insisted the center was about the experience, not sales.
However, during this conversation, student Ren Shuolin rushed in and interrupted them to say: "My roommate told me they provide cheaper goodies and all of the university's students can enjoy a 20-percent or even 30-percent discount (on Apple products) here."
He added that the information was taken from Peking University's BBS, an online message board.
China Daily contacted the library and Image Group for comments about whether purchases can be made at the center, but neither was able to give a definitive answer.
A receptionist for Image Group who declined to give her name said all employees in charge of the experience center were away on business and that there was no one available to give an official statement
A spokesman for Peking University library, who also did not want to be identified, said she could not release any details, adding only that the college will post a statement in two days.
The Apple experience center comes just months after Tsinghua University, another major institution, drew fire for allowing one of its buildings to be sponsored by Jeanswest, a clothing store.