Apple’s News app has officially launched in the US, with trials in the UK and Australia. But if you’re an American travelling to China, don’t plan on accessing the app from your phone. Apple itself is reportedly blocking it from loading news in the country.
Users who visit mainland China simply get a “can’t refresh right now” message on the app:
Apple News turns off when you roam into Mainland China. Disturbing. Not cool. pic.twitter.com/CYLUWGHE2H
— Larry Salibra (@larrysalibra) October 2, 2015
Apple has the option of simply censoring the app, as many other companies do to appease China’s censorship regime. But so far Apple hasn’t gone that route, and will likely tread lightly for one very good reason: China is now the company’s second largest market.
From the New York Times:
Greater China is now Apple’s second-largest source of revenue after the United States, with sales of more than $US13 billion in the third quarter. That means the company is most likely taking a careful approach to delivering new content, like that on its news app, within China.
There has been, of course, much debate about what kind of censorship American companies implement in countries with draconian speech laws. But the real test of Apple’s delicate dance with Chinese censors will come when Apple News launches in China — should that day ever come.
Top image by Michael Hession