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Protectionism in China: Red Apple

April 4, 2013

IN THE past few weeks, China?s state-controlled media have given Apple a bruising. Last month CCTV, the national broadcaster, pilloried the firm for its warranty-repair policies, which are not always the same in China as in other countries. Then the People?s Daily, a party organ, denounced it for its arrogance. Other attacks followed in Xinhua, the official news agency, and through celebrity mouthpieces on social media.On April 1st Apple apologised. Tim Cook, the firm?s chief executive, posted a letter on its Chinese website acknowledging that ?some people may have viewed our lack of communication as arrogant.? He added: ?we sincerely apologise to our customers for any concern or confusion we may have caused.? He also offered to improve warranty practices, for example by replacing faulty iPhones with brand new ones instead of with refurbished kit.At first blush, the apology seems to be a humiliating kow-tow. The San Jose Mercury News, the paper of record of Silicon Valley, ran a leader mocking Apple for ?pandering to Chinese Communist petulance?. The editors added cheekily: ?To make amends, we demand not only one new phone...

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