Red Alert: Apple China’s Website Curiously Drops AIDS Charity Branding For New Red iPhone 7


Everyone is excited with the (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7. Everyone except China.

Apple has released its special edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7, a ruby red version of its flagship iPhone 7. This is in partnership with HIV/AIDS charity group (RED); all sales will contribute to the group's global fund. However, in Apple China's website, the (PRODUCT)RED branding is curiously missing. HIV is a hot-button issue in China, which has been criticized for its handling of the issue.

Aside from the red iPhone 7, Apple is on a roll this month as more products have come out. The new 9.7-inch iPad has just launched to go with Apple's newest video-editing iOS app Clips.

(PRODUCT)RED Missing In Red China

The special edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 rolled out worldwide on Wednesday, March 22, with several of Apple's regional websites donning the ruby red design motif. But eagle-eyed readers noticed that Apple China dropped the (PRODUCT)RED branding.

China has received a lot of criticisms for its handling of the HIV/AIDS situation in the country. China has remained conservative regarding sex education, one of the primary programs in many HIV/AIDS prevention efforts. China's traditional values and beliefs on sex and relationship clash with the liberal worldview of the West, which is active in AIDS prevention.

Also, experts point to the Chinese government's cautious approach to NGOs and charity groups working in the country. HIV/AIDS remains to be a health and human rights issue. There have been many crackdowns on HIV activists in the country, which is symptomatic of China's cold-shoulder toward HIV/AIDS prevention.

This may explain the curious removal of the group's name in the Apple China website. It can be a business move for Apple, which is not surprising, given the good status of Apple products among Chinese users (iPhone is a social status symbol).

When reached for a comment regarding the issue, Apple CEO Tim Cook reiterated the partnership's goals.

"We donate to the Global Fund on every iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus we sell in every country in the world," Cook said.

Apple And (RED) Partnership

The special edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 is the first time that Apple featured the (RED) group in its flagship phone. The two groups have been in partnership for 10 years, with Apple being one of the top corporate donors for RED's Global Fund, having contributed over $130 million.

"Combining the global reach of the world's most loved smartphone with our efforts to provide access to life-saving ARV medication in sub-Saharan Africa, customers now have a remarkable opportunity to make a difference and contribute to the Global Fund through the purchase of this new beautiful (PRODUCT)RED iPhone," (RED) CEO Deborah Dugan said, describing the (PRODUCT)RED iPhone.  

Cook for his part said that (PRODUCT)RED is a testament to the partnership and their success in fight against the spread of AIDS worldwide.

"The introduction of this special edition iPhone in a gorgeous red finish is our biggest (PRODUCT)RED offering to date in celebration of our partnership with (RED), and we can't wait to get it into customers' hands," Cook said.

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