Apple's Apology Helps Regain Respect in China after Tabloid Trial
It only took one day for state-run media outlets in China to sidle up to Apple after decrying the company’s supposedly harmful after-sales practices, with CEO Tim Cook’s apology letter. According to Reuters
, the same newspapers that attacked Apple have come to laud its chief executive’s proactive measures – a rare apology letter issued in a distinct departure from the traditionally tight-lipped company.
According to the popular tabloid, Global Times
; “The company’s apology letter has eased the situation, softening the tense relationship between Apple and the Chinese market. Its reaction is worth respect compared with other American companies.” Even the Foreign Ministry gave nod to Apple’s actions in light of the one-way mud-slinging, saying the tech giant “conscientiously” responded to consumers’ demands. Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said “We approve of what Apple said.”
With China being Apple’s second-largest market and currently expected to soon become its biggest with smartphone sales booming, the company was likely looking to put the brakes on the Chinese government’s media machine. It was estimated on Monday that the state-run media barrage would cost the iPhone maker roughly $13 billion in sales.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, the anti-Apple campaign began with a China Central Television broadcast meant to spark discontent among Chinese consumers over after-sales service supposedly “biased against Chinese consumers in its warranty and consumer service policies.” Shortly after that, the People’s Daily
dug in with a front-page story about the company’s reluctance to meet with press over the matter. In response to all of this, Apple posted Cook’s lengthy apology letter on its webpage, clarifying warranty practices and enhancing repair policies regarding the iPhone 4 and 4S. Perhaps most important to the Chinese government and by extension its media was the acknowledgment Apple’s lack of transparency could lead to “misunderstandings” for which Cook offered his “sincere apologies.” It’s still interesting to see how quickly Apple was able to turn things around.