Apple in China: From Dissed to Darling in a Day
“We approve of what Apple said.”
— China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei
As expected, Apple’s rare public apology to China for its allegedly unfair warranty and repair policies has proven a fast-acting and effective antidote for escalating tensions in the country. Not 24 hours after its publication, and already the country’s state-run media has eased off the vitriol and is trading mudslinging for bouquet tossing.
China’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday lauded Apple for its “conscientious” response to the country’s concerns. And government mouthpiece The People’s Daily, which just days ago had been slagging Apple for its “unparalleled arrogance,” held the company up as a model for other foreign businesses.
“The company’s apology letter has eased the situation, softening the tense relationship between Apple and the Chinese market,” the publication wrote. “Its reaction is worth respect compared with other American companies. CCTV also deserves our respect and encouragement for daring to criticize a business giant like Apple.”
“Unparalleled arrogance” to “worth respect” in a day — what a swift and thorough rapprochement. Not bad for the small price Apple paid. As I wrote early this morning:
“Apple’s apology in China cost the company very little; indeed, the changes made to its repair policies in the country were relatively minor. But what it stands to gain from such a public mea culpa from Tim Cook could be significant, extending well beyond a simple easing of tensions in Beijing.”