In a column with an unsubtle title, “For Apple business, must stay business,” Chinese-government-controlled Global Times praised Apple for responding to Chinese state media criticism of its warranty policies with Tim Cook’s apology letter, posted yesterday.
But the column ended with an equally unsubtle finale:
“It will be wise for Apple not to entangle itself into political debates.”
In another editorial on the same site, Global Times said that Apple deserves respect.
“As the world’s leading high-tech enterprise, Apple can adjust its attitude in a timely manner, showing its professionalism and flexibility. Its reaction is worth respect compared with other American companies,” the op-ed column said, while also managing to be remarkably candid in acknowledging that there are still issues for international companies doing business in China.
“China’s market economy has experienced soaring development, while its rules are not mature enough and laws not so sound. … The blame should not only lie in foreign companies, but also China’s business environment.”
This is good news for Apple, as China is its second largest market, and it’s a critical growing economy where Apple needs to succeed if it wants to do well globally. CEO Tim Cook’s quick response — only his second official company apology since taking the office — is a measure of how important the country is to Apple revenues.
Interestingly, the articles acknowledge a political tinge to the recent spanking Apple has been taking in China, saying that Chinese networking and mobile companies Huawei and ZTE “have long been restricted in the US markets under security and other accusations.” Just this January, Los Alamos National Laboratory tossed out Huawei network switches under suspicion that China’s military had infiltrated the company and installed backdoors into its equipment. And in December, the U.S. Congress Intelligence Committee said that Chinese networking equipment could not be trusted.
At the time, China had issued a vague threat, saying the U.S. should “do more that is beneficial to Sino-American economic and trade ties, rather than the contrary.”
However, point made, China may have been pacified by Apple’s apology. But it suggests that Apple stay on its toes:
Apple has won respect from Chinese consumers with its perseverance in developing leading technologies and styles. But the company is not impeccable. Like its continuing stride in exploring for technological breakthroughs, the company also needs to keep working hard to raise its service quality.