November 19, 2019

What Happens When Major Companies Abandon Hong Kong

“As American companies try to figure out how to keep business afloat without angering the Chinese government amid the ongoing Hong Kong protests, Reset focused its latest episode on HK Map Live — an app that’s being used by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. It was designed to help protesters and residents to locate police and demonstrations.

Apple rejected it when it was initially submitted to the App Store, then later changed its mind and approved it. A few days after it became available, Apple turned around and banned it entirely. The decision worried US lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, who wrote CEO Tim Cook a letter expressing their concern.

Today, people in Hong Kong are still using HK Map Live, according to Quartz reporter Mary Hui, who’s been reporting on the months-long protests there. She explains that instead of accessing it through an iPhone app, they’re finding it through a browser or downloading an Android phone app instead.

For reference, Apple also deleted the Quartz app from the App Store. And earlier this month, Google got in trouble with its own employees when it banned a protest video game app.

In the Chinese market, “why was that app illegal? Because they’re covering the protests in Hong Kong,” The Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel says.”

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