Apple’s “Braided” Customer Service Image Sparks Controversy

At the time of the release of the new iPhone 15 series, Apple encountered some problems.

On September 17th, the topic of “#How to perceive the image of Apple China’s braided customer service on their official website#” trended on hot search. On the Apple official website’s page for purchasing Apple Watch, a picture featuring a Specialist expert providing one-on-one assistance in selecting products made many people feel uncomfortable and sparked a lot of dissatisfaction, especially due to the character in the image having “braided hair”.

This braid really made me feel full of malice.” Many netizens believe that this does not represent the image of Chinese people, and moreover, the term “braid” is derogatory.

Regarding this, Apple customer service stated that they have received relevant feedback and attach great importance to it. You can follow the official website for further responses.

Some media have confirmed that the image of this customer service representative is not only present on Apple’s official website in China, but also on the official websites of Apple in countries such as the United States, Japan, and South Korea. The same photo is used for this entrance.

Open the aforementioned Apple Watch purchase pages on the official websites of China, the United States, Japan, and South Korea respectively. After comparing them, it was found that they all use the same image, which is the customer service picture with a “braid” hairstyle mentioned above.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 15 Series Goes on Sale, the Official Website of Apple China Crashes Again

According to China News Network, on September 18th, a reporter learned from an informed source that the customer service representative is a female employee of Apple Inc. in California, United States.

As of the time of writing, the customer service image still exists on the mentioned pages of both Apple’s official website in China and the United States.

According to China News Network, Shi Shusi, a special expert and financial commentator for China News Network, said that as Apple has been deeply rooted in China for many years and has a large number of “Apple fans,” its website staff should have understood that symbols such as “squinting eyes” and “braids” are highly likely to cause displeasure among Chinese netizens due to their alleged insult towards China. However, they still act stubbornly. Last year, Apple’s smartphones earned abundant profits in China. Provoking the emotions of the Chinese people is undoubtedly self-destructive behavior in the fierce competition of the current smartphone market.

Faced with the rising national confidence and self-esteem of the younger generation in China, as well as their support and recognition of domestic brands, they are gradually breaking free from the blind worship of foreign brands that have persisted for a long time. However, multinational companies often lack in-depth research and response measures, leading to an emotional surge caused by cultural and cognitive differences between both sides. This is actually a common dilemma that multinational companies currently face in China. Multinational companies should seriously consider how to deal with the social-psychological changes behind the market and make efforts to understand and respect their customers.

Regarding the above “braided” customer service image, some netizens expressed discomfort, saying “pigtail, flat nose, freckles, and warts – each factor challenges the modern aesthetic of Chinese people and makes them feel uncomfortable.” “It’s one thing to excessively interpret someone’s appearance, but this braid is just unwashed,” “If something makes you uncomfortable, trust your feelings. That’s how it is,” “The photo placed in the Asia-Pacific region easily leads people to think about other aspects.

SEE ALSO: Apple Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary in China

Some netizens also believe that companies should consider the public’s feelings and avoid using potentially controversial images.

A certain media initiated a survey on social media platforms regarding “how to perceive the image of Apple China’s braided customer service” as of 18:00 on the 18th. At that time, 22,000 people chose the option “indeed inappropriate,” which had the highest percentage. Additionally, 21,000 people chose the option “should apologize,” and 20,000 people chose the option “too sensitive”.

Last Friday, the new models of Apple’s iPhone 15 series started pre-selling online. According to its official website, the delivery time for iPhone 15 in mainland China has been delayed to 3-4 weeks, while Pro Max requires a longer wait of 6-7 weeks. According to Guo Mingchi, an analyst from Science and Technology Innovation Board Daily, demand for the iPhone 15 Pro Max has remained strong since pre-orders began last Friday, and it is still expected to ship around 80 million units this year.

In the past few years, high-end models of the iPhone have sold better than regular models. However, this year, the supply of iPhone 15, 15 Plus, and 15 Pro is relatively abundant. On the other hand, the arrival proportion of the iPhone 15 Pro Max is very low and can be said to be the lowest in recent years, accounting for only about 10%.

The new Apple devices are still quite attractive to Chinese consumers. According to media reports, the high-end Pro and Pro Max models sold out in less than a minute at Apple’s flagship store on Tmall. The cumulative pre-order volume of iPhone 15 on has exceeded 3.4 million.

Counterpoint’s senior analyst Ivan Lam stated that the iPhone is able to attract a large number of consumers in the segment market priced at $548 and above. Especially for customers who are currently using iPhone 11/12 and wish to upgrade their phones, the Pro series is a great choice. However, at the same time, Apple is facing tough competition from Huawei’s Mate 60 series.