Apple disabled News app in China

By Money Times

Oct 16, 2015 02:05 AM EDT

Many iPhone users are surprised when they could not access Apple News app in mainland China when they were able to use it in many places around the world.  Granted that the said app is being tested in the United Kingdom and Australia, still the app is prevented by Chinese censorship from being activated.

It has been confirmed with a lot of iPhone users in China by CNN Money. China and Hong Kong CNN reporters were able to download Apple News on Monday, after shifting their iPhone regions to the United States, as reported by CNN Money.

Hong Kong is not subject to Beijing's censorship regulations making the service on a mobile network of the app to operate normally.  But once you are connected in Beijing an error prompts when trying to open prior loaded stories.  The message would say, "Story Unavailable: News isn't supported in your current region."

Information is frequently censored by the Chinese government.  This includes domestic media which is heavily controlled as well as social media sites like Google and Facebook which are blocked online.

The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and New York times are western media that heftily invested establishing Chinese news language websites.  Nevertheless, they took the risks, including their English language sister publications became useless because many factors are considered dishonorable by China's censors.

Firms are often punished if it resists Beijing's censorship.  LinkedIn only has been allowed to operate in China among the major U.S. media platforms after it coincides to block the content.

One interesting thing about this strategy of blocking is that it's based on the iPhone user's network and not on the device's IP address.  It means the app remains blocked even if you're roaming from a network outside mainland China, or using a VPN.  Other services from Apple like the Beats1 radio component of Apple Music are disabled based on the IP address, so it will still function in mainland China, according to Macworld.

The disabling of Apple News emphasizes the situation that U.S. firm face when trying to entice the possible profitable Chinese market.  A righteous stand against censorship will be hard for Apple, which produced 27% of its net income from China last quarter, but would also be relatively unfair to Chinese citizens who increasingly want to use Apple products.

The resolution to block Apple new in China is the most recent example of the hardships faced by foreign countries in managing the strict regulations that control online expression and media in the Asian country, Tech Times reported.

Companies operating in the country are required by the Chinese government to censor the content being released in China.  It means that Apple would have to create its own censorship system and get rid of certain articles from the feeds.  This task is carried out by using a combination of manpower and automated software by most Chinese businesses.

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