Why Apple's red iPhones are not 'Red' in China

Apple's latest iPhone might be red, but it's not Red in China. The special-edition version of the iPhone 7 and 7plus goes on sale in more than 40 countries, but China has done it slightly differently. The BBC explains why.

What is Red about?

Red is a charity looking to combat Aids and was originally founded by U2 musician Bono and activist Bobby Shriver. It gives the money it raises to the Global Fund for HIV/Aids that doles out grants.

This includes providing testing and treatment for patients with the aim of wiping out transmission of HIV. Apple is the world's largest corporate donor to the Global Fund.

The special-edition devices celebrate Apple's long-running partnership with Red and a portion of the sales will go towards its relief operations in Africa.

But Apple's Chinese-language sites don't mention the product or cause. This left some perplexed.

Internet users were among the first to spot that there was different branding on Apple's landing page depending on the Chinese territory.

When translated from Mandarin, Apple's China retail website for the Red devices simply read as "now in red" while the Taiwanese site used the words "product" Red which the US and other countries have as well.

Some analysts read this as yet another example of Chinese politics interfering with Western brands looking to do business in the world's most populous nation.

Apple had no comment on the matter.

So why the different name?

One possibility is that Apple is looking to navigate sensitivities in a state where messages are controlled: HIV/Aids and homosexuality remain taboo topics in China.

The first case of HIV in China was recorded in 1989. By 2000 the disease was found in most of China, and as it continued to spread, the government kept denying the problem.

Today discrimination against Aids patients is common.

source: BBC

Category: