Posted 04/02/2013 at 3:59 PM
Posted 3 years ago
As the world’s fastest growing smartphone market, China is a potential goldmine for Apple; however, since March, relations between Cupertino and China’s consumers and state-run media have been less than smooth.
For the past few weeks, the Chinese media has circled around Apple, criticizing the company for its alleged unfairness in warranty policies. The U.S. tech giant has been accused of not providing local customers with the same warranties offered to customers in other markets and has even labeled it “arrogant” for its failure to address the problem. While customers in the United States and in Europe receive a full replacement iPhone with a one-year warranty for faulty devices, according to local media, China’s customers are being refused replacement handsets and instead offered repairs.
In an effort to stem the criticism, Apple CEO Tim Cook has taken the step of apologizing to the Chinese – a move which The Verge says has been warmly welcomed by state-run media.
“In the past two weeks, we have received a lot of feedback about Apple in China’s repair and warranty policy,” Cook said in a statement on the Apple China website (translated by Google Translate).
“We are aware that, due to a lack of external communication in this process, there has been speculation that Apple is arrogant, does not care or does not attach importance to consumer feedback.”
“We express our sincere apologies for any concerns or misunderstandings this gives consumers.”
Cook admitted that Apple still needs to learn how to better communicate with China and vowed to improve the iPhone repair process in the country. From now on, Chinese customers will have faulty iPhone 4 and 4S handsets under warranty replaced and the one-year warranty will be restarted on each replacement handset.
According to The Verge, China’s People’s Daily newspaper was quoted as saying Cook’s reaction was “worth respect compared with other American companies.” A foreign ministry representative also praised Apple for “conscientiously” responding to the problems.
Although his predecessor Steve Jobs was not one for apologizing, Cook has shown that saying sorry does sometimes make things better. It worked for the poor iPhone 5 maps service and with the iPhone 4S pre-orders backlog, now a simple apology may well have saved Apple’s relations in China. Well played Tim, well played.