Apple pulls tracking app after China criticism

Clay Curtis
October 19, 2019

The CEO of Apple has met with the top market regulator in China, a statement said yesterday, a week after the tech giant faced heavy criticism over an app Beijing accused of supporting Hong Kong protesters.

The state media of China too criticized Apple for allowing the HKmap to be downloaded and all these issues convinced the firm to remove the app from its play store.

Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment regarding the company's response to the letter.

"Apple's decisions last week to accommodate the Chinese government by taking down HKmaps is deeply concerning", they wrote in a letter to Cook, urging Apple to "reverse course, to demonstrate that Apple puts values above market access, and to stand with the fearless men and women fighting for basic rights and dignity in Hong Kong".

These included Apple's investment in China, consumer rights protection, and corporate social responsibility.

"Business is business, and politics is politics", the paper said, alleging that Apple was conjoining the two. "So you can imagine our disappointment to read that Apple had removed HKMap, a crowdsourced mapping app widely used by Hong Kong residents, from the App Store this week".

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"Cases like these raise real concern about whether Apple and other large USA corporate entities will bow to growing Chinese demands rather than lose access to a billion Chinese consumers", the letter states. Apple declared that it received complaints from several Hong Kong residents that the app was being used to endanger citizens' lives and law enforcement. "Does this mean Apple intended to be an accomplice to the rioters?"

The makers of HKmap.live lashed out at Apple's removal as "censorship" and "clearly a political decision to suppress freedom".

China had earlier made vague threats against Apple unless it complied with government wishes to ban the app. Apple subsequently did so...

In a separate letter to Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, five of the same lawmakers criticize the publisher for suspending Hearthstone player Ng "Blitzchung" Wai Chung after he expressed solidarity with protestors in Hong Kong.

Apple's dependence on China for both manufacturing and a significant chunk of its sales is putting the company into an increasingly hard position.

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