If you happen to live or are currently in China, and you’re trying to access the increasingly popular Apple News app, you’re going to be out of luck.
Reports are circulating that Apple has blocked the app in mainland China. If you happen to be located in the more liberal semi-autonomous city-state of Hong Kong, the app should be working just fine.
Until Apple officially comments on the situation, some sort of technical failure can’t be fully ruled out, but based on early reports from users, Apple is almost certainly blocking the app intentionally.
Officially, Apple’s News app is only available to users in the United States. People who bought the app in the United States and then traveled abroad, however, have been able to use it in foreign countries.
That’s not the case in China, where the app will stop functioning when users try to use it.
The Chinese government is well known for its heavy handed censorship policies. Most likely, Apple moved to censor the app preemptively before drawing any ire from the Chinese government.
Given that China is home to more than 1.3 billion people, and is among the fastest growing economic regions in the world, the so-called Middle Kingdom is a huge market for Apple, so they’re likely not looking to risk their bottom line.
As Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said this past summer, “I think China is a fantastic geography with an incredible, unprecedented level of opportunity.” On other occasions, Mr. Cook has also stated that he believes that China will eventually surpass the United States in terms of market size.
In the United States, Apple may be closing in on peak saturation for many of its products, including its now ubiquitous iPhone, but international markets still offer plenty of room for growth. In the fiscal third quarter this year, international sales accounted for 64 percent of revenues, and China alone brought in $13.2 billion dollars in sales.