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Apple Does Corporate Reputation Dance With Chinese Government



apple-warranty-china-tim-cook-apologyApple has never been known for making apologies about much of anything. Folks were a bit shocked by CEO Tim Cook’s mea culpa last year regarding the Apple Maps troubles the company experienced.

Well, it’s interesting just what a threat to adding to the gazillion or so dollars the company has (at one point recently Apple had more cash on hand than the US government) can do.

The latest threat to making Apple even richer comes from the world’s largest market, China. Don’t worry, Apple is doing just fine in China but it recently got the Chinese government agitated and, well, that’s not good for business. It’s so bad for business in fact that Tim Cook offered another public apology.

USA Today reports

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 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.

Apple is playing an interesting game here since they need to apologize to the government for their ‘actions’ but the Chinese consumers took the opportunity to express their distrust too. Fortunately for Apple it was about their own government’s policies.

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

Cook’s apology was a strategic move designed to protect an increasingly strong showing in China by Apple.

Despite the government’s pressures, sales of Apple products in the region, which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong, grew 67 percent to $6.8 billion in the first three months of 2013, compared with the same period a year earlier, according to the company. Apple sold 2 million iPhone 5s during the first weekend it was available in China, in December.

While it might appear strange to us in the west that an apology would be in order when a product is gaining in popularity, it was a necessary move by Apple to appease a government that could shut down Apple no matter how many of its citizens complained. You see, in places where the government is too big and has too much power the citizens get the short end of the stick more often than not. Did everyone get that?

If you are interested Cook’s apology read as follows

“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.”

That didn’t hurt now did it? Just keep the cash flowing and I suspect Apple will tell the Chinese government whatever it needs to hear now and in the future.

  • dinagross

    Seems as though Apple, in its push to establish itself in China, is
    responding to its clients over there far better than it has over here.
    Or, perhaps it’s simply a matter that no one in North America ever
    complained about the 3-month replacement warranty.
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