back to article Tim Cook eats necessary crow, apologizes to China

Apple CEO Tim Cook has released an open apology to his company's Chinese customers after coming under increasing pressure from that government's propaganda machine's attacks on Cupertino's customer-service practices. In a letter published on Apple's Chinese website (Google Translate) – and which some of The Reg's Chinese- …


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  1. Ross K

    Slow News Day Or April Fools?

    The Chinese only found fault with Apple's customer service?

    I suppose they don't care about the working conditions of subcontractors - Foxconn and Apple are creating employment after all...

    You stay classy China.

    1. Martin Huizing

      Re: Slow News Day Or April Fools?

      II, for one, welcome relevant news coming from China. Not only because I live here, also I see a change in Chinese mentality. People want to address issues closer to home and, through social media, are finally able to let their voices be heard. 'Slow news day' means no news to report. Just cause you think it doesn't concern you, doesn't mean it is not news.

      1. Ross K

        Re: Slow News Day Or April Fools?

        Perhaps the Chinese government would find it more relevant to ask THEMSELVES some questions about the working conditions of their citizens. Why do they supply Foxconn with "interns" (ie. college students who should be studying for their degree) who work for 1500 yuan a month? Refuse and you don't get the required credits to complete your degree...

        As a broadcaster, I'd rank CCTV up there with Fox News or Press TV in terms of impartiality.

        So yeah - slow news day... Nothing to see here, move along.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Slow News Day Or April Fools?

      If it is a last throw AF then the 50+ news feeds from around the world have been taken in by it.

  2. Cipher



    1. weppy

      Re: 4月第一胡說

      You can expect the "50 cent party" (Google it), people paid by the Chinese government to troll the internet and respond to articles critical of the Chinese government, to be out in full force.

      1. Cipher

        Re: 4月第一胡說


        You clearly missed my point. I am not a shill for the Chinese government.

        4月第一胡說 -= April Fool's Bullshit

        1. Ross K

          Re: 4月第一胡說

          You clearly missed my point. I am not a shill for the Chinese government.

          4月第一胡說 -= April Fool's Bullshit

          Why didn't you write it in English the first time round then? So readers could understand? FFS...

      2. Andrew Moore

        Re: 4月第一胡說

        I think Ryanair use them too...

  3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Thank our (previous) glorious leader

    For rejecting chinese style socialism and fighting for the rights of British customers to get one year warranties rather than the mandatory two years forced upon the other oppressed peoples of Europe

  4. Rampant Spaniel

    So in America we complain about it and we get told we are holding it wrong. China complaints about something and the boss eats sweet and sour crow feet. I guess we know which is the biggest market! Most amusing to see however!

    1. auburnman

      That's an interesting one - If Jobs had still been around and in charge does anyone think he would have made a grovelling apology?

      1. Arctic fox

        RE:"does anyone think he would have made a grovelling apology?" We will never know....

        ..........but faced with losing a market of over a billion people he might, just possibly, have developed a degree of arse-kissing capacity humility that we otherwise would not associate with that gentleman.

  5. hikarul

    Double Standard by Apple in China

    iPhone in China only have 15 days replacement/refund period, vs. 30 days in US/CANADA.

    iPhone in China have 1 year warrentee, same as US/CA. BUT, the problem is in US, warrantee means a full body replacement, whereas in China you actually have to PAY for the parts...

    i.e. warrantee in China means "I'll help you fix it but I'll charge you", where as if you exceed the warrantee period, you CANT even pay Apple to get it fixed.

    So 90% of people who have screen broken (for example), actually go to a third party to fix.

    Also, replace front screen in Apple store cost 1300 Yuan (~$200 USD), where as third party is 200 Yuan (~40 USD). BTW, its all Gorilla glass.

    The whole point is the company have two sets of policies, one for other countries and one for China.

    1. t.est

      Re: Double Standard by Apple in China

      Nope Apple does not have two sets of policies. They have many more than that. Almost as many as they have countries they are present in.

      But it's still a interesting question. Why would Apple or any other company have different sets of policies. That is extremely inefficient due to all the bureaucracy it causes.

      One more interesting question is, why the Chinese government choose to enforce foreign laws upon Apple. As the differences in policies is mostly due to different laws in all the different countries. This is a very interesting question.

  6. weppy

    As someone who lives in China, it has been interesting to see this play itself out "from the inside". As this article rightly points out, the Chinese government has been going after Western companies using their government owned TV programs for a while now. It is Western company bashing at its finest, disguised as a reputable TV program. While some of the complaints lodged at these companies have merit, many do not. But your average Chinese citizen does not have access to the entire story, nor do many care. Many in China could not afford an iPhone even if they wanted one. But money and image have become king in China and many people, particularly in the larger cities, would sell their parents and their left arm if they stand to gain monetarily. You're a nobody if you are not carrying the latest gadgets or weaing designer clothes. The Chinese govenment has played a large role in this because they are beginning to understand a few things. First, China does not have the education system, the culture, nor the know-how (yet anyway) to produce employees who can innovate, design, and create like those in the West. Yes, it's a stereotype, but there is truth to this. The Chinese govenment is trying to model the education system in China like that in the West, but there is a lot of resistence and this will take much longer than people realize. One only needs to consider the number of children from affluent Chinese families who are now educated in the West (from an early age) to realize this. Furthermore, I believe that the sudden increase in hacking into Western companies is a direct result of the Chinese government's realization that it will be difficult to compete with Western companies for some time unless they either acquire the technology by buying up Western companies, or steal it. They have met much resistance on the former from Western governments, thus the increase in the latter. The government also realizes that, as the gap between the middle class and rich widens, people are going to start demanding more, and the days of China's manufacturing dominance are numbered. So the government must stimulate the economy in other areas - consumerism, being one such area. But if they increase sales of goods in China, it's best that the goods are produced by Chinese companies, not Western companies - and so the CCTV program gives them the vehicle to paint Western companies as "selfish", "China haters", "arrogant", "unethical", etc. Perhaps there is some truth to this, but surely there is a benefit to turning citizen's frustrations away from their own government and focusing it instead onto Western companies or governments - the Chinese government officials are masters at this. Many Chinese people see right through this attempt, however, as this article mentions. Speculation began to swirl when Peter Ho, a Taiwanese-American actor and Samsung spokesman, posted some disparging remarks about Apple on his Weibo (Twitter) account.....but inadvertently included the instructions given to him, telling him what to write. Of course, he claimed that his account had been hacked and removed all comments, but the damage had been done. People realized that the government was paying celebrities (or those with large numbers of Weibo followers) to post comments on their behalf, and compensating them quite nicely. China is the land of make-believe. The Chinese government has done a fairly good job of presenting a facade of a powerful country in which the government is taking care of things, but meanwhile the counrty is very dysfunctional and many things do not work the way they should. Corruption is rampant, from the highest levels of government all the way down to the village peasant, and, considering that it's been a part of their culture for hundreds of years, rooting it out is going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible. So, you've got government money being funneled into primarily state owned companies (very little of this money goes to fund small, familly owned companies), where people at the top skim their cut, and so on all the way down from there, where perhaps 1/2 of the funds are used for their intended purpose. In order to make due on half the required funding, companies simply cut corners (just thow the chemicals into the nearest river since there isn't money to dispose of them properly; use cheaper materials when building, even though these buildings will age rapidly and become a safety hazard; take land from the poor instead of compensating them (as is supposed to be done) since people in the countryside have few rights anyway; and the list goes on). Meanwhile the people who have immense wealth can use money to get just about anything. Your child wants to go to the top university in China? No problem. Just pay off the president and administrators. You want access to loans for a construction project.? No problem. Just pay off the bank president. You can begin to see how it becomes nearly impossible to run an efficient economy when so many people have their hands in the till. And you can also see that, not unlike the West to some degree, if you have money (and therefore likely a position of influence), life is grand. If you are an average Chinese citizen, however, life is more difficult. Will this change in the future? I hope so. I find Chinese people to be some of the warmest and most hospitable people in the world. And I think the West will benefit from a strong China. But I am not as optimistic as many about this being the "century of China". Their economy will surely grow simply because of the population of China, but whether it will be a real threat to the West in research, design, and innovation, that remains to be seen. I'm not so hopeful - at least not in the near future and perhaps not for several generations. They have a long list of problems that must first be worked out, and, while the government says that this is their first priority, one wonders if this is true, when the people in charge benefit directly from the status quo. There is a much greater incentive for them to do nothing, while their wealth grows in the current climate. That is until the Chinese people finally get tired and fed up - then all bets are off.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Paragraphs. You need to use them.

    2. Katie Saucey


      I did read, but meh

    3. Naughtyhorse

      The Chinese govenment is trying to model the education system in China like that in the West

      Jeez I hope not!

      If so then you should brace yourself for 'great leap forward' part 2

      I get the issues with innovation part, but that requires cultural change not policy change wrt education. Please do not copy our way - standards in education in the west have been in freefall for decades. The only thing keeping our universities academically afloat is overseas sudents! and you can guess where many of them originate from.

      1. weppy

        Re: The Chinese govenment is trying to model the education system in China like that in the West

        There are those from China who would beg to differ with you:

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Excellent summary (but yeah you could've used paragraphs).

      As someone who has previously lived in China, I can also confirm the sense of 'hand in the till' you get is relentless. Literally all educated/upper class people's mentality is 'get enough money by whatever illicit means necessary then bail (Usually to Aus/Canada/UK/Europe). It's a bit hard to big up their economy when so many people are desperate to leave. Has all the characteristics of a Mafia bust out.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's get something straight

    Apple does NOT have two 'standards'by which they treat their customers, i.e. the US or China. Apple has as many standards as it needs to have to get away with as much as they can.

    In Europe (or most of it) the warranty is different afain, as it is in Russia or wherever else.

    Why ? Because companies ONLY supply their customers with the warranty they're legally required to.

    They only reason companies (e.g. KIA or Toyota over here) go above and beyond is because they think their target customer base will find it an important reason to prefer their product over someone elses.

    But never out of the kindness of their hearts.

    1. t.est

      Re: Let's get something straight

      Apple actually gives a warranty, in a country here that doesn't have a law to enforce warranty. Just like most companies does here. An EU country.

      However the law enforces the right for the consumer to file a Consumer Complaint. Which in turn may lead to some sort of compensation. Details may differ between different countries. But this is the case for at least a few EU countries.

      Still Apple gives a warranty in these countries. However they are not so good at following the law concerning Consumer Complaints. Which basically gives the consumer a form of "warranty" that is longer than the warranty given by Apple.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's get something straight

      Have you seen how much a Kia costs now that it has a 7 year warranty?

  8. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    It's just anti-FUD

    Eating cooking oil recycled from gutters, drinking poisonous milk powder, water filled with dead floating pigs. I think we ca also add childrens toys painted with toxic paint to that list.

    This is standard political tactics, whip up the masses about trivial issues while ignoring the important ones, it's a variation on Parkinson's law of triviality.

    Well, it's still early here so I'm going to have a couple of emulsified high fat offal tubes for breakfast.

  9. Gordon Pryra

    Quick fix needed

    "Apple consumers in other parts of the world including the United States, Australia, South Korea and the European Union are treated much better."

    Should this not read

    "People in other parts of the world including the United States, Australia, South Korea and the European Union are treated much better."

  10. Armando 123

    Well of course

    Because if the 20th century taught us anything, it's that all-powerful, corrupt communist dictatorships are there to help the consumers.

  11. Gil Grissum
    Thumb Down

    Low cost iPhone coming to China?

    Oh yes, Cook must eat Crow and kiss ass. This isn't the first or last time. He will have to do more of it to get China Mobile as a customer. By the way, isn't Foxconn a Chinese manufacturer, who manufactures iPhones and iPads? That not enough state run factory business for China? Guess not. China is going to bend Cook and Apple over in order to get China Mobile as a customer. And China Mobile isn't going to give up any of what USA and EU carriers have, to get the iPhone. China mobile holds all of the cards and can wait Apple out while Android builds momentum there. Apple however, cannot afford to wait.

  12. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    I am given to understand that "greed" is not highly regarded in PRC.

    1. graeme leggett

      Is anti-greed stance in China public and/or official or private and/or personal ?

  13. Homer 1


    Is that a euphemism for "the Chinese people don't deserve the same consumer rights as everyone else", or is it the more obviously derogatory version of what American's call "patriotism"?

    Pot, meet kettle.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    eating crow

    I am pretty sure last time i was in China i also ate crow, and it was delicious.

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