Apple Apologizes To China: Customers Demand Fair Treatment

Category: Technology / Apr 04, 2013 11:37AM EDT
Chinese consumers on Tuesday called for fair treatment from Apple while China's foreign ministry expressed approval over Apple CEO Tim Cook's apology for poor communication over its warranty policy. The criticism of Apple by Chinese media began on March 15 with the broadcast of an annual show on China Central Television about consumer safety and rights, assailing Apple for not offering new iPhones with a one-year warranty in the case of major repairs. After coming under near-daily media assault for the past two weeks and facing the threat of penalties from two Chinese government bureaus, Apple apologised to Chinese consumers on Monday (April 1) and said it will change the terms for some of its iPhones sold in China. Apple is revising its warranties for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S and simplifying its explanation of warranties and ways for customers to provide feedback, Cook said in a Monday (April 1) letter on Apple's China website. Recalling the difficulty of shopping for new Apple products such as the new iPhone models, Liu Canrong, a self-described Apple fan, called for the company to be fairer to Chinese customers. "Apple can be more humanitarian in many areas. In some respects, it's truly unfair to Chinese customers. It's true. In terms of the waiting time (to sign up) it's the longest, and the need to line up -- that's what I hate the most," said Liu. "I heard news about the different how Apple treats its customers in China differently than in other countries. I think what Apple needs to improve is offering the same after-sale service as they do in foreign countries," said Daisy, a 20 year-old university student in Shanghai. At a Tuesday (April 2) news conference, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that China expressed approval over Cook's apology. "As a Chinese consumer, I think that Apple conscientiously responded to Chinese consumers reasonable demands. It was a very normal thing to do. We approve of what Apple said," Hong told reporters. Greater China is Apple's second-biggest and fastest-growing market, with sales up almost 40 percent to $6.8 billion in the final quarter of 2012. Apple's iPhones, iPods and computers are considered aspirational products in China, which is one of the Cupertino, California-based company's biggest and fastest-growing markets. That kind of popularity makes foreign brands a target of attack in China. Other successful foreign brands such as Yum Brands Inc, which owns fast-food restaurant chain KFC, Wal-Mart Stores, and Gucci have come under fire for various product and labour issues. (Video Source: REUTERS)