The Apple logo is seen hanging inside the Apple store on West 66th Street on October 5, 2011 in New York City.
Why did Apple apologize to China?
02:49 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Apple CEO apologizes to Chinese customers

Tim Cook says lack of communication made Apple look arrogant

Chinese media had attacked Apple over warranty complaints

CNN  — 

Apple has published a letter to Chinese customers – signed by CEO Tim Cook – that addresses the growing controversy over the company’s warranty policies there.

Posted to the Chinese version of Apple’s website on Monday, the letter (Google translation) discusses changes that Apple plans in China to offer better customer service.

In addition to a clear statement on Apple’s website regarding its repair and warranty policies, Apple also plans to increase training for its staff and authorized resellers, and plans to improve how it handles iPhone 4 and 4S repairs.

“We are aware … the lack of external communication in this process … lead to the speculation that Apple is arrogant, does not care or does not attach importance to consumer feedback. We express our sincere apologies for any concerns or misunderstandings this gives consumers,” reads a Google translation version of Cook’s letter.

The letter comes about a week after Chinese state media began its open criticism of Apple and its response – or lack thereof – to warranty complaints. The People’s Daily even ran a front-page piece calling Apple “arrogant” in dealing with Chinese consumers, saying Apple ignored customers and offered sub-par customer service.

But China is such an important market to Apple – Cook won’t stop talking about Apple’s growth in China during every quarter’s fiscal call – that it’s no surprise Apple issued a public response.

It will likely take several weeks (if not months) for changes in consumer perceptions of Apple to register. That said, Apple has encouraged Chinese consumers to get in touch with the company directly regarding issues with Apple retail stores or resellers.

“[W]e always harbor immense respect to China, the Chinese consumer is always the top priority of our hearts,” Cook wrote.