Apple becomes the latest victim of China’s stringent government norms as to how international tech companies are supposed to operate in the country. The Cupertino giant has reportedly blocked its own News app in China, according to a report by New York Times.
The company’s News app was announced back in June, and right now only available in the United States. Though customers traveling abroad who’ve registered their iPhones in the US can still access content on the app, however, the app does not work in China. Users in China are seeing the following message on apps home screen:
“Can’t refresh right now. News isn’t supported in your current region”.
A source has also confirmed that the app has never functioned in China, blocking overseas handsets to access the app in the country.
China is now apparently the largest market in the world for Apple in terms of revenue; the company announced in its Q1 earnings report. Notably the first time it has ever topped the US. However, Chinese government’s stringent policies have made it rather hard for international tech companies to operate in the country.
The Chinese are stymied in their ability share and express opinions on sensitive issues. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter along with a bunch of services from Google have been blocked in the country for quite a while.
Even console manufacturers have also long complained about the confines within which they are allowed to operate in China. The country recently lifted the ban on sale and production of such devices, as both the PS4 and Xbox One were recently launched in the country back in March 2015. Though despite that, console and games sales are not really thriving in China as only a limited number of games are available in the country. Moreover, these consoles in the country come region locked. Hence, Chinese gamers are rather stifled in terms of options they have at their disposal.
Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House said in a statement last month how the company feels challenged by China’s “censorship regime.”