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24 February 2021
Apple boss reaches out to young Chinese consumers
Influencers, KOLsTechnology & electronics (general)Greater China
A young Chinese influencer’s virtual talk show with Apple CEO Tim Cook has gone viral in China, reaching hundreds of millions of young consumers either directly or via related posts on Weibo.
Why it matters
Several international brands have been criticised in recent years for campaigns that misread local sentiment. Cook’s charm-filled approach via a social media influencer suggests a new way for Western brands to communicate directly to consumers in China.
The 18-minute video interview on Bilibili between 60-year-old Cook and 22-year-old student He Shijie appears to have had a largely positive response from young Chinese consumers, based on their reactions on social media, according to the South China Morning Post.
Cook spoke of his admiration for China’s tech advances, the Chinese people, their history and culture, and praised Chinese consumers’ feedback on Apple products, which had enabled “a tonne” of improvements.
The chat, conducted in English with Chinese subtitles, steered away from any sensitive topics such as censorship, or the security controversy in the US and elsewhere surrounding Chinese tech companies.
Apple was hit by the China-US trade war under Donald Trump, but in Q4 2020 it registered 57% growth in Greater China.
“Apple is using this peaceful moment not only for marketing, but also using Chinese social media to connect with consumers of Apple products” – Cameron Johnson, New York University Shanghai and partner at Tidal Wave Solutions consultancy.