iPhone 4S launch in China (image 001)

Controversy over Apple’s warranty policies in China started up earlier this month after a report from state-controlled media outlets such as China Central Television criticized the company for treating consumers unfairly with its warranty and repair procedures compared to other countries. The Wall Street Journal reported today that Chinese government appears to be going after Apple for failing to respond to requests for interviews and providing a response to the criticisms through an article in the state-run People’s Daily newspaper:

The People’s Daily newspaper, the party’s traditional mouthpiece, in a front-page article on Monday accused the electronics maker of declining journalists’ requests for interviews and issuing an “empty and self-praising” response to a recent critical report by China’s national television broadcaster. The article was accompanied by a cartoon with a figure representing the company, saying, “Apple statement: empty.

Though it can be difficult to predict government behavior based on news coverage in China’s state-run media, analysts said the string of attacks suggested that the government is considering doing more to encourage the growth of domestic smartphone companies and eat away at dominant foreign companies, such as Apple.

The initial reports claimed Apple was providing customers in China with service that differed from other countries. For example: providing repaired phones or recycled components, while giving customers in the United States new replacement devices. It was also followed by posts online from Chinese celebrities against Apple that some think was a coordinated effort to attack the company. WSJ noted that Apple responded through a message on its Chinese website on the weekend, claiming that its warranty policies are “more or less the same” in every country:

Apple on Saturday posted a message on its Chinese website to clarify the company’s warranty policy, saying it fixes phones with new components but reattaches the original back case. The statement also said Apple provides a 90-day guarantee on repairs, longer than the 30 days required by Chinese law. “Apple’s Chinese warranty is more or less the same as in the U.S. and all over the world,” the statement said.

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