Authorities in South Korea have raided Apple's Seoul offices amid preparations for the launch of iPhone X in the country.
Investigators visited Apple's headquarters earlier this week to grill it about business practices just days before the launch of Apple's latest flagship phone.
According to Metro, the raid will likely raise questions as to whether South Korean authorities are attempting to sabotage the iPhone X debut, which apparently has sold out across the world.
Apple's South Korean Offices Raided, Might Raise Questions About FTC Meddling
Even more likely to raise questions is the fact that South Korea is noted for strong — and sometimes corrupt — relationships between the government and major corporations. Supposed to go on sale Nov. 24, the iPhone X is already proving popular, and once it's out, it will likely hamper phone sales of other manufacturers.
This isn't the first time for Apple to tussle with South Korean authorities. Last year, there was an investigation launched to find out whether the company struck unfair contracts with the country's phone networks.
While unclear, this raid appears to be associated with that ongoing investigation, which was launched just months after Apple took action to address the authorities' concern about its supposedly unfair contracts with local firms commissioned to repair Apple products and other devices.
Last December, the country's then-resident Park Geun-hye was impeached on grounds of accepting bribes. That investigation also lead to the ouster of Samsung's de facto head Lee Jae-yong. He was convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to five years in prison for bribery, embezzlement, and perjury.
Criticism On The South Korean FTC
None of those came as a surprise. The Korean Fair Trade Commission has often been accused of abusing its authority to favor local companies against competition from big international players such as Apple. In 2015, when the Cupertino brand nabbed a whopping 33 percent share of the country's smartphone market, the agency launched an investigation to determine whether foreign companies were disrupting the local market.
Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, accused the commission of having a "protectionist agenda," arguing in 2015 that the agency had been "slapping spurious charges on foreign companies." Several critics mirror Kay's position, often complaining about the commission's bias toward domestic firms.
To try and challenge Apple's rise in South Korea, Samsung recently launched promotional offer where 10,000 iPhone owners could avail a one-month trial of either the Galaxy Note 8 or Galaxy S8.
The iPhone X was scheduled to launch in South Korea on Nov. 24.