In recent weeks, many western companies have come out in support of China’s totalitarian regime, among them tech company Apple. Companies that try to accede to Chinese demands find themselves at a crossroads, since many Western users may look askance at their relationship with the Chinese government. The Cupertino giant made a note to Apple TV+ creators recently that they should avoid making any content that could potentially piss off the most populous country in the world.
Front and Center in Hong Kong
The recent civil uprising within Hong Kong has seen Apple dedicate a lot of resources to controlling the applications that users there have access to. The company banned an app called HKLive, which offered a real-time view of police patrols around the city, citing the need to preserve the lives of police officers as the reasoning behind the ban. People’s Daily, China’s news outlet, hailed the removal as a victory and was among one of the most-read stories in the paper.
Estimates on the number of apps removed from the iOS store at the request of China’s government comes in at around five hundred and seventeen applications. Porn and gambling apps were the majority of the apps banned, but along with those, VPN apps and News apps that reported a different slant to the People’s Daily were also removed. There are also claims that the company has provided any data the Chinese government wanted during its years of operating within the Chinese market, a severe breach of user trust and privacy if it turns out to be true.
Cooperation Gains Market Access
Apple had not always kowtowed to the Chinese government, but in 2016, the company faced a blackout on several of its media services like iTunes Movies and iBooks Store for content-related violations. Apple doesn’t want to a repeat of the incident and has decided to obey China’s ruling party meekly. If anything, these actions prove that Apple will do things in China that it wouldn’t dare to do in other Western countries, simply because of the size of the market there.