It appears the iPhone maker is making a conscious effort to stay clear of the Chinese government's crosshairs after the highly-publicized scuffle both parties had three years ago.
Several days after it had pulled the controversial HKmap Live mapping app from the App Store, Apple is now reportedly instructing Apple TV+ creators not to anger Beijing by portraying the Asian superpower in a bad way on their shows.
Steering Apple TV+ Creators From Criticizing China
The decision to steer show creators from any perceived criticism of China was purportedly given by Apple leadership as early as 2018, when programming for the streaming service was still being ironed out, according to BuzzFeed News.
Sources familiar with the matter claimed the instruction came directly from Eddy Cue, senior vice president of internet software and services, and Morgan Wandell, head of international content development.
It was said to be part of Apple's efforts to stay in the good graces of the Chinese government, and to avoid repeating the April 2016 incident, which saw the Chinese State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television forcibly shut down the tech company's iBooks Store and iTunes Movies services for several months.
The closure of the Apple stores was believed to be linked to the release of a banned film in China, which portrays a 2025 version of Hong Kong ruled by a police state. The movie shows the residents of the city-state having to deal with radical protests, language police, and local Red Guard units.
Appeasement Of The Chinese Government
One showrunner, who was not associated with Apple, said there's nothing new about companies like Apple tiptoeing around the Chinese government.
"They all do it," the source said. "They have to if they want to play in that market. And they all want to play in that market. Who wouldn't?"
The BuzzFeed News report pointed out that Apple needs to avoid angering Beijing. The company is heavily dependent on its annual sales in the Chinese market, as well as for the manufacture of hundreds of millions of its iPhones every year.
This can also be seen in how Apple reacted to the Chinese government's disapproval of the HKmap Live app, which Beijing claimed was being used by protesters in Hong Kong.
Regarding its decision to pull the mapping app from the App Store, Apple CEO Tim Cook said it was made based on information that the company received, which showed HKmap Live being used to violate local laws.