On Friday night, China Central Television program suggested that Apple allegedly provides Chinese users with inferior service.
Apple was accused of charging its Chinese users a fee for replacing back covers of faulty iPhones - which they do for free in other countries, according to the report. The Cupertino-based company was also accused of not renewing warranty periods for replaced iPhones.
The program appeared to garner support initially according to the SCMP report.
SCMP:[quote] About 8.20pm, after the Apple espisode was aired, celebrities and internet opinion leaders discussed it on Sina Weibo, China’s twitter-like service . Among them was one of China’s leading writers of children’s literature, Zheng Yuanjie, who has nearly 5 million followers on Weibo. Zheng said:
“Chinese customers choose Apple not just for its technology, but also for its thoughtfulness, justice, care and value. I am shocked to hear Apple adopts double standards with Chinese customers and those in developed countries. After spending the same and an even greater amount of money, they receive a lower standard of service in return. I hope the missing part on Apple’s logo isn’t their conscience. “
Zheng was joined by well-known journalist Deng Fei and popular blogger “Liu Jishou” - who echoed CCTV’s criticisms of Apple.[/quote]
However, things appeared to turn in Apple’s favours at around 8:26pm, Taiwanese actor Peter Ho joined the bandwagon and posted a message on his Weibo criticizing Apple.
Ho’s message - “Apple plays so many tricks with their customer service? I feel hurt as an Apple fan. Have you done right by [Steve] Jobs? Have you done right by boys who sell their kidneys [to buy iphones], he asked, adding: “this is an example of big-name shops bullying customers.”
Unfortunately for the folks at CCTV, Ho’s message ended with : “To publish around 8.20pm.” It appeared Peter Ho was prompted to post the message on his account. This little mishap did not go unnoticed and soon the public was piling in with their take on what was happening.
According to the SCMP report:[quote] One theory was that Ho was part the CCTV’s plan to criticise Apple. Yet he was either too lazy or too trusting as he had obviously copied and pasted the texts without deleting the cue line meant only for him -“To publish around 8.20pm.” – instead of his 5.3 million Weibo fans.
It took two hours for Ho to “come clean” on Weibo. At 10.08pm, he deleted the previous message and posted this:
“Now it’s me in person. Someone stole my Weibo account and posted the previous Weibo. Will someone tell me what’s going on? This is ridiculous!” [/quote]
However, Ho’s disclaimer wasn’t well received by Weibo users, according to the report:[quote] “Your post is ridiculous,” replied one blogger.
“Stop pretending,” commented another. “I guess CCTV will now ask for a refund, huh?”[/quote]
Apparently, Kai- fu Lee, a founder of technology Innovation company Works and former president of Google China, was also invited to comment on the report. However, declined stating that he would have accepted the offer if the topics had been as important topics as “air, water, and food safety in China, according to the report.
Kai- fu Lee, a founder of technology Innovation company Works and former president of Google China, admitted he had also been invited by show organisers to post comments on Weibo. He said he would have accepted the offer if the topics had been as important as “air, water, and food safety in China.”
However, the folks at Apple saw the funny side of the matter, according to the report.
In an official statement, Apple stated that: “We have been striving to exceed consumers’ expectations , and we highly value every customer’s criticism and suggestions .” The company has also posted on Weibo, using the now famous #8.20# hashtag, a comparison of the different return policies of Apple, Samsung, Nokia and Lenovo phones. With a line: “You can tell the good from the bad easily,” according to the report.
Source: South China Morning Post