For Apple, China is a complicated matter. One of its largest revenue markets despite the singe-digit share, and the country where iPhone are made, the relationship with China always sits at the top of Tim Cook's agenda,
So much so that, when the White House administration began prepping for the current tough trade negotiating period with China, instead of lambasting the President as most other tech companies affected did, Tim Cook inserted himself as an indispensable adviser on the tariff matter.
Back in August, President Trump sat down with Apple's CEO, and talked tariffs over dinner for a second time. Unlike a lot of other Silicon Valley entities, Mr Cook has taken the path of least confrontation with the administration over its budding philosophical conflict with China over tariffs, intellectual property rights and the like, as it stands to lose a lot if things go awry.
Needless to say, he doesn't put it this way but instead says that tariffs on iPhones will end up helping Samsung - "a very good competitor" - and the President seems to have been convinced at the time that Samsung is a South Korean company and shouldn't be getting ahead of Apple due to an administration whose slogan is "Make America great again."
In the latest installment of "Apple placates China," however, the collateral damage are the Hong Kong protesters which saw one of their specialized iOS apps get pulled from the App Store on Tuesday. On what grounds?
The HKmap Live
was basically an app package of a crowdsourced pin-dropper, like so many out there, for protest routes and locations, themes and police presence, so the developers argue that Apple could simply ban Waze on those grounds, too.
It's not the same for Apple, though, given the precarious position it is in over its dependence on smooth relationships with China, so it decided not to risk the anger of the big guy over the small guy.
After Google's ban over Android for Huawei phones, many a Chinese citizen have been patriotically ditching iPhones in defense of local brands, too, so Apple has many, many dogs in this fight at all times, and HKmap Live is just the last chapter in the saga.