Apple is a huge company, selling gadgets around the world. One of its biggest markets turns out to be China, which is also a supplier of many components. And working within a quasi-capitalist/quasi-post-communist dictatorship does have its problems.
Yesterday we learned that Apple’s head honcho, Tim Cook, has openly apologized to Chinese consumers.
He did it under pressure . . . from China’s state-run media.
The non-paranoid way of looking at this is that Apple has fallen down on the job of Chinese consumer support. The company’s 17,000 outlets, including eleven Apple-branded stores, just do not service consumer complaints well enough.
This may be true.
But the pile-on by the media looks a little different than, say, the piling-on by America’s media against successful companies here. It has the odor of concerted plan, “commandment from on high.”
And it is well known that China — which tries to plan its economy as much as humanly possible, with the iron fist of totalitarian law — when it gets really serious, gets serious indeed.
So, Tim Cook’s abject apology echoes not so much Apple’s rare apologies in America, but the apologies made by targets of China’s Cultural Revolution, a generation or two ago, at least if the BBC has it right:
State broadcaster CCTV and the state’s flagship newspaper, People’s Daily, had portrayed Apple as the latest Western company to exploit Chinese citizens.
Last week the paper ran an editorial headlined: “Strike down Apple’s incomparable arrogance.”
Even Apple’s (or Microsoft’s) critics in the West don’t sound that strident.
For the record, I have complaints with all gadgets, all systems, all suppliers. I can truly be nonpartisan on this.
And this is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.