Technology giant Apple Inc. formally apologized to Chinese consumers on Monday for a miscommunication on its warranty policy. CEO Tim Cook personally signed the apology letter, written in Mandarin and published on Apple's Chinese-language website.
For the past two-weeks the California based company has been under attack by Chinese state-media. They accused Apple of discriminating against Chinese consumers.
But, Chinese companies are no beacon of customer service, leading some to wonder if the accusations could be politically motivated.
[Zhu Xinxin, Former Editor, Hebei People's Radio]
"Actually they're using this incident to fan up sentiment against America and other Western democratic countries. They will expand on a tiny issue and try and influence people's thoughts, and turn it into a political affair. This is what the CCP's media does."
China is currently Apple's second-largest market, and it's trying to take a bigger bite, directly competing with Chinese-based companies.
[Hua Puo, China Analyst]
"CCTV and People's Daily all talked about national pride, and feel Apple is discriminating against Chinese people. Actually, Apple is an American company, and a world famous one at that. The Communist Party wants to take it down a notch because the US is now doing more checks and imposing taxes on Chinese imports, and this has angered the regime."
The media attack was over Apple's iPhone repair policy, which replaces the casing in all other countries but China. Apple says the reason it doesn't in China is because Chinese laws say it must then give the user another year warranty.
The case has set an example for foreign companies in China, about just how effective state-run propaganda machines can be. [Hua Puo, China Analyst]
"As well established as Apple is, to do business in China, you need a backer. For other companies who do have this type of backing, they will not be hunted down like this by Chinese media."
Apple says it is changing its policy to completely replace broken iPhone 4's and 4S's. It will also extend its warranty after replacement, something it was accused of skimping on before.
(Thumbnail courtesy MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
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