Apple Deactivates Its News App In China

It looks like Apple may have disabled its news app in China. Apple users in the country are apparently seeing a message that reads as follows.

“Can’t refresh right now. News isn’t supported in your current region.”

According to Time, now that Apple has disabled its News app, it is one of the latest Western companies facing challenges in regards to the online media rules that China has in place.

The Apple News app was launched back in June in beta, September in full public release, and as of right now, only Apple users in the U.S. have access to it. The news app, which customizes a user’s news feed based on their preference, can still be accessed by Apple customers when they go abroad. Apple is also testing out the app in England and Australia, according to Business Insider. However, some people have said they tried to use the Apple News app in China, but they just get the message that tells them that news isn’t supported in the region they are currently in.

The United States is the largest market for Apple, while China is the company’s second largest market. Apple generates around $13 billion in sales annually in China.

China is the second largest market for Apple

According to CNET, Google packed up its operations in China and moved over to Hong Kong, which allowed the company to operate without the Chinese government placing stringent rules and regulations for it to follow.

In 2010, Google Moved Its Search Engine Operation From China

If Apple doesn’t have a system for blocking content, then that may be one of the reasons why it decided to just disable the News app altogether.

The decision Apple made is concerning some users, with one entrepreneur saying that he found what Apple was doing was disconcerting. The entrepreneur posted on Reddit, saying that China was censoring news content that he downloaded and stored on his Apple device purchased in the United States before he enters China, all just because his device connected to a Chinese signal floating over the border.

Facebook, Google, Apple, and other Internet companies are not the only ones who have been affected by China’s censorship rules. There are a few game companies that have complained about them, too. In March, Sony launched the PlayStation 4 console in China, but that came after the Chinese government decided to revoke a longtime ban on gaming consoles. China has rules in regards to video games’ titles, as it prohibits the sales of any title that promotes things such as obscenity, violence, and gambling. Last month, the CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment said that his company was challenged somewhat by the censorship rules that China has in place.

[Image by Ken Ishii / Getty Images]