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Apple's mea culpa works wonders in China

State-run media says that the iPhone maker's apology over warranties has helped ease the tensions between Apple and the Chinese government.

Apple apology in China
CBS News/Screenshot by CNET

Apple CEO Tim Cook's apology to China over his company's warranty apology seems to have succeeded in reducing tension with the Chinese government.

Global Times, a state-run media outlet in China, today wrote that Apple's "apology letter has eased the situation, softening the tense relationship between Apple and the Chinese market," according to Reuters, which was first to report on the statement. The Global Times also said that Apple's apology was "worth respect."

Tim Cook yesterday issued an apology, saying his company was sorry for the lack of communication on its warranty policies. Cook also promised a new repair policy for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, new explanation pages to make it clearer what's covered under its warranty and what's not, and more training and policing of Apple Authorized Service Providers doing repairs.

Apple had been facing criticism over its warrantiesfor weeks. State-run media outlets were targeting the company over its warranty policies, but Apple had argued that it was following all local laws and regulations. After Apple declined to be interviewed by state-run media, however, the company was called arrogant, and speculation rose that the country's commerce watchdog, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, might move in.

For now, though, it appears that the apology and promises of fixes have addressed China's concerns. They also underscore just how important China has become to Apple -- the company has consistently said it's the second-largest market for its business -- and how powerful the Chinese government is.