Thursday, April 19, 2018

Apple apologizes to Chinese consumers

BEIJING — Apple issued an apology to Chinese consumers Monday after government media attacked its repair policies for two weeks in a campaign that reeked of economic nationalism.

A statement that Apple posted in Chinese to its website on Monday said the complaints had prompted "deep reflection" and persuaded the company of the need to revamp its repair policies, boost communication with Chinese consumers and strengthen oversight of authorized resellers.

State broadcaster CCTV and the ruling party's flagship newspaper, People's Daily, had led the charge against the iconic American company. They accused Apple of arrogance, greed and "throwing its weight around," and portrayed it as just the latest Western company to exploit the Chinese consumer.

The attacks backfired almost as soon as they began and were mocked by sophisticated Chinese consumers who revere Apple and its products. State-run media also inadvertently revived complaints over shoddy service by Chinese companies.

Nonetheless, Apple responded with an apology from CEO Tim Cook.

"We've come to understand through this process that because of our poor communication, some have come to feel that Apple's attitude is arrogant and that we don't care about or value feedback from the consumer," Cook's Chinese statement said, as translated by the Associated Press. "For the concerns and misunderstandings passed on to the consumer, we express our sincere apologies."

Although Apple enjoys strong support from Chinese consumers, the vehemence of the attacks and the importance of the Chinese market appeared to have persuaded the company to smooth its relations with Chinese consumers and authorities.

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