In China, the state-run press has been attacking Apple non-stop for the past couple of weeks over warranty policies that showed the company’s “unparalleled arrogance.” Apple Stores were fixing broken iPhone returns instead of replacing the devices entirely like they do in the United States. There was also an issue with Apple’s 90-day warranty on replaced parts not matching China’s mandatory one-year warranty policy.
Things got so heated that Apple CEO Tim Cook had to issue a public letter to Chinese customers apologizing “for any concerns or misunderstandings.” Apple’s scrutinized warranty and return policies have also been changed to address the concerns.
After the apology, China is starting to warm back up to Apple.
“The company’s apology letter has eased the situation, softening the tense relationship between Apple and the Chinese market,” according to the Global Times tabloid, a mouthpiece for The Chinese Communist Party. “Its reaction is worth respect compared with other American companies.”
China’s Foreign Ministry also “praised Apple for ‘conscientiously’ responding to consumers’ demands,” according to a Reuters report. This is quite a change in tone when you consider that China was calling Apple “empty and self-praising” last week.
It was clear that China was trying to screw Apple at one point, and the intense public scrutiny would have surely been a disaster for Apple had it continued. All this goes to show that China is just as—if not more—important to Apple than the United States, and the company will have to tread lightly to keep the peace.