Apple humbled: chief executive says sorry to Chinese customers

Company apologises after being accused of 'Western superiority' and greed by state-run media

A Chinese woman listens to her iPhone outside an Apple reseller store in Beijing on April 2, 2013. Apple chief executive Tim Cook has apologised to Chinese consumers after the US technology g
(Image credit: 2013 AFP)

APPLE has publicly apologised to Chinese consumers after the country's state-run media attacked the computer giant for its "incomparable arrogance", greed and indifference.

The company published a letter to customers on its website - written in Chinese - from chief executive Tim Cook in the wake of a two-week campaign protesting at Apple's warranty policies, reports the BBC.

The country's state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) had accused Apple of failing to replace faulty iPhones while they were under one-year warranty. A week after the broadcast, the People's Daily newspaper published an editorial titled "Strike down Apple's incomparable arrogance".

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"Here we have the Western person's sense of superiority making mischief," it said. "If there's no risk in offending the Chinese consumer, and it also makes for lower overheads, then why not?''

Following the criticism, Cook said Apple will offer full replacements of iPhone 4 and 4S models that break down while under warranty. In the letter, he says he is aware "some consider Apple's attitude to be arrogant, inattentive or indifferent to consumer feedback".

He concedes that Apple has "much to learn about operating and communicating in China", adding: "We express our sincere apologies for causing consumers any misgivings or misunderstanding... The Chinese consumer is always the top priority of our hearts."

China is a significant market for the company. Apple reported almost $7 billion in revenue from the country in their most recent quarter, compared to $4 billion the previous year, notes Mashable.

It's not the first time pressure from Chinese media has led to an apology from a foreign company. Last year McDonald's apologised after being pressured by CCTV over food safety, as has KFC's parent company, Yum.

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