Miruna Codeanu

Apple apologies, Chinese Trojan Horse?

In Uncategorized on April 3, 2013 at 6:36 am

Last week I was writing about Apple facing a PR attack from the Chinese government. A few days ago Tim Cook, Apple CEO released an official letter on the Chinese Apple website apologizing (the Google Translate version of it seems pretty decent). Keeping it short, Apple admits the complaints were motivated  and tries to respond them by adjusting its service and warranty policies. After this letter, Apple was praised in the local newspaper.

The next day Apple was praised by the state controlled press for its immediate response: “The company’s apology letter has eased the situation, softening the tense relationship between Apple and the Chinese market … Its reaction is worth respect compared with other American companies,” (writes People’s Day via Business Insider). This is no smooth PR movement, this is something Apple was forced to do, because the scandals in the state controlled press left no choice for Apple. Of course, there is always the possibility of closing the gates for press communication but when you have a giant nuclear PR weapon targeting, you might have to answer back. Apple is basically relying on the Chinese market for its 2013 growth, so they can’t risk it and Tim Cook took the best solution possible. Only that there’s more than Apple, to the Chinese war against foreign products. Sure, they’re manufactured in China, but the Chinese will need room (to be translated as market share) for their own products.

Everybody seems to be praising Apple’s movement. Yes, sure, it was probably the only viable solution. But there’s more to it. Firstly, Better warranty policies, better services translate in higher costs. Apple’s also supposed to be launching Iphone targeting the Chinese marketing this year, which may not prove to be so profitable with the changes in their policies. Secondly, the Apple vs China PR war is just a part of a bigger war that it is not only Apple’s to fight. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, China is not praising Apple’s apologies, China is praising its own ability to inflict warranty adjustments on Apple. The long term result for this it is actually like this: the Chinese state, seeking the wellbeing of its people, used its tool – the state controlled media to oblige Apple to change its policies in order to make the Chinese customer happier. And this is, some piece of awesome PR for the Chinese communist state. China’s welcoming attitude could be just a Trojan horse, disguised as a cute pony, entering the world of foreign manufacturers and Apple is just the first host.

Dear Apple, you didn’t win. China is not clapping its hands for you, they are celebrating and appraising themselves for their success against a foreign company. Well done China, you just might be getting better at PR techniques.

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