In an unexpected turn of events, the Chinese media changed its tune after Apple issued a public letter of apology signed by Tim Cook.
After facing heavy attacks through the state-owned Chinese media over customer service practices during the past two weeks, and even facing the threat of penalties from two Chinese government bureaus, Apple published a letter of apology yesterday for “poor communication over its warranty” and rectified the terms for its iPhone 4 and 4S models sold in the country, Reuters reports.
As Tim Cook pointed out last year, China is Apple’s second-biggest and fastest growing market.
The new rules came into effect on Monday. Under the news terms, Chinese customers will get their devices replaced as a whole, instead of having the device repaired, as broadcasted by CCTV (China Central Television), which caused an uproar among Chinese consumers and government bureaus.
“That Timothy Cook had to step up and respond from the CEO’s chair shows the importance of China and how critical it is as a market not just for Apple but for every multinational company here,” said Kent Kedl, Shanghai-based head of Greater China and North Asia for risk consultancy firm Control Risks.
Apple’s letter of apology has “eased the situation” by softening the tense relationship between the company and the Chinese market, changing the tune of the Chinese media. Even the Foreign Ministry has praised Apple for conscientiously responding to consumer demand.