Beijing: It appears that Apple is choosing to outright block its news app in China rather than implement a system to censor stories that would earn it the ire of Beijing. A source has confirmed to The New York Times that the company has blocked users in China from accessing Apple News, which offers an iOS-optimized way to read stories from around the web.
China has proven to be a difficult market for many tech companies partly due to the Beijing’s restrictions on content available to people in the country. Companies are typically required to censor the media available in their apps to hew to China’s demands. If not, they risk being cut off by the so-called Great Firewall of China, like Facebook and Twitter. In this case, Apple, which sees China as a massive market for new iPhone sales, is itself blocking people in the country from accessing Apple News.
Hong Kong entrepreneur Larry Salibra noticed the block on Apple News earlier this week, when traveling in the mainland. He was able to deduce that Apple is blocking access to the app based on which carrier the phone connects to. Use a Chinese carrier, and the app is shut down, whether or not you have location services enabled on the phone.
While Apple News has only launched officially in the US so far, those who have activated their phones with American localization are able to retain access while they travel. Now that Apple News is shut down in China, however, you’ll have to get your news another way if you’re vacationing on the mainland.