Apple and China: Here We Go Again

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) China woes are not over yet, as the company is called out by the media again. Only, this time, Apple is in trouble for apparent pornography in its App Store.

Last month, Apple had been getting a lot of heat from Chinese state-run media outlets, like China Central Television and The People’s Daily. The issue then was that Apple’s warranty policies and customer service in China was considered discriminatory, as it didn’t replace as much as its warranty in some other countries.

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After all the heat, Apple gave in and issued an apology and policy change. CEO Tim Cook apologized for the misunderstanding, seeming arrogance in the wake of the first media criticisms, and then Apple announced that it would be changing its warranty policy in China, giving more extensive coverage and repairs.

It is important for Apple to stay on China’s good side, as the country is Apple’s second largest market and makes up a significant portion of Apple’s revenue. But, now that Apple has bent to pressure in China once, will continued pressure lead to more instances of Apple playing by the governments rules?

This time, Apple was listed among other company’s in an article in The People’s Daily. Luckily the article and Apple’s placement within it were not as prominent as the earlier campaigns against Apple were. Apple is listed among other app stores that have offensive material.

One bit of trouble here is that Apple’s App Store theoretically already shouldn’t have any pornographic material. Apple’s App Store guidelines require developers not to include defamatory, obscene, or offensive content — which would include pornography. Further troubling, the order from the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications for Apple to remove pornographic material didn’t give details on the material, so Apple may not even know what content set off the censoring watchdog.

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It may be a little time before word comes out of Apple on the issue. A Beijing-based spokeswoman for Apple, Carolyn Wu, chose not to comment on the report.

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