H&M erased from Apple Maps and other apps in China

As of Thursday, H&M had been wiped off Apple Maps in China and also removed from China’s leading e-commerce, ride-hailing, daily-deals and map applications, as Chinese consumers prompted by Chinese Communist Party state-run media continued to rage over the Swedish clothing brand’s decision to stop sourcing from China’s Xinjiang region.

Eva Xiao for The Wall Street Journal:

H&M’s swift erasure from Chinese platforms marked an escalation in the kind of retaliation Western companies can face when running up against Beijing on hot-button issues, such as human rights and China’s policies toward ethnic groups in Xinjiang — and how quickly and massively a backlash can hit a company in one of its most important markets.

Criticism of H&M — including calls for boycotts — by Chinese social-media users surged on Wednesday, apparently over the company’s statement last year that it was no longer sourcing from Xinjiang, a major cotton producer, because of forced-labor allegations there. The statement suddenly went viral on China’s Twitter-like Weibo, amplified by mentions in multiple state-media accounts.

On Thursday, ordering a car to an H&M store was impossible on Didi, the country’s largest ride-hailing app, which didn’t recognize the brand as a valid destination. Searching for H&M on multiple Chinese map apps, including Baidu Maps, run by China’s largest search engine, returned zero results, as if the clothing company didn’t exist despite its more than 400 stores in China.

Shoppers planning to purchase H&M clothing online were also out of luck. Starting Wednesday, searches for H&M’s name on platforms operated by China’s largest e-commerce companies — Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Pinduoduo Inc. and JD.com Inc. — yielded no results. Multiple Chinese Android app stores appeared to have removed one of H&M’s shopping apps.

MacDailyNews Take: With H&M having been erased from Apple Maps and other outlets, the kowtowing continues unabated as companies like Apple fear the type of retaliation H&M is currently receiving for actually having the balls to stand up for human rights instead of just showing up to mouth empty words while picking up worthless and, obviously, meaningless awards and board seats.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ 2015 Ripple of Hope Award for “his lifelong commitment to human rights” who subsequently took a place on the board Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights the following year, and winner of Newseum’s 2017 Free Expression Award in the Free Speech category, no less also aids and abets China’s commitment to violating human rights with serial regularity.

Two phrases immediately spring to mind:
• Do as I say, not as I do.
• Talking the talk, but not walking the walk.

Some fun quotes:

It’s about finding your values, and committing to them. It’s about finding your North Star. It’s about making choices. Some are easy. Some are hard. And some will make you question everything. — Tim Cook

You don’t have to choose between doing good and doing well. It’s a false choice, today more than ever. — Tim Cook

You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripple for change. — Tim Cook

There are times in all of our lives when a reliance on gut or intuition just seems more appropriate — when a particular course of action just feels right. And interestingly I’ve discovered it’s in facing life’s most important decisions that intuition seems the most indispensable to getting it right. — Tim Cook

For some things where we… [have] a strong point of view, we’re not shy. We’ll stand up, speak out – even when our voice shakes. — Tim Cook

The most important thing is, Do you have the courage to admit that you’re wrong? And do you change? The most important thing to me as a CEO is that we keep the courage. — Tim Cook

Spewing quotes that you routinely don’t back up with action and accepting awards, plaudits, and board positions for “free speech” and “human rights” while altering maps, banning publications, and pulling apps are tough actions to reconcile due to their diametrically opposed nature.

As we asked back in 2019, “For how long can Tim Cook, and by extension, Apple, get away with positioning themselves as the world’s white knight while kowtowing to every whim of the Chinese authoritarian socialist censors?”

This is about leadership, or, rather, the lack thereof.

H&M Group’s statement, in which the company said it was “deeply concerned by reports from civil society organizations and media that include accusations of forced labor and discrimination of ethnoreligious minorities in Xinjiang,” is here.

See also:

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s continued kowtowing to China is a very bad look – October 10, 2019
• Apple removes Quartz news app from App Store in China over Hong Kong coverage – October 10, 2019
• Apple kowtows to China by censoring Taiwan flag emoji – October 7, 2019
• Apple Music censors songs in China that reference Tiananmen massacre, democracy – April 9, 2019
Apple removes VPN apps from China App Store – July 29, 2017
• In bid to improve censorship, China to summon Apple execs to discuss stricter App Store oversight – April 20, 2017
• Apple removes New York Times apps from App Store in China at behest of Chinese government – January 4, 2017

64 Comments

    1. Exactly!

      The master SJW hypocrite of the wealthiest company in history. Bends like grass in the wind when almighty capitalist profits and his job are at risk. Another Cook total weenie episode when it comes to standing up to China, he bows.

      Switching gears, another kind of retaliation Bumbling Biden did not call on the Fox News reporter at his press conference yesterday. Another weenie, that can’t handle accountability and tough questioning.

      God help us…

        1. Yes Yes Yes ! TxUser we finally agree 🙂 I have been waiting for this day for a long time. God Bless you brother ! There is hope 🙂

          Long Live TxUser !!!

  1. Cook, who is obviously under the thumb of the CCP, brought this upon himself.

    If he just kept his mouth shut and ran the company like he’s wildly overpaid to do, he could censor everything the CCP tells him to censor.

    The problem is that he’s a sanctimonious leftist soy boy who seems pathologically driven to pontificate. Leftist fools like Tim Cook (see: Hollywood) who want to lecture while accepting awards and applause from other leftist fools, then do NOTHING or, even worse, THE WRONG THING when the time comes to back up their words are insufferable twats.

    I can’t wait until Apple gets a new CEO.

    1. “Leftist soy boy.” That’s a perfect description of Tim Cook and his ilk.

      I continue to wonder why do those, like Tim Cook, who benefit the most from capitalism, entrepreneurialism, and free enterprise want to wreck it with leftist, socialist, over-regulation?

      The only logical answers I can come up with is that they either must feel incredibly guilty for being so vastly overpaid or they’re ignorant of the conditions that allowed them to become successful in the first place – or maybe they’ve already got theirs, so they don’t care that nobody else will be able to replicate their success in a socialist system?

      1. Sorry wasn’t it the last President who as I was reminded only yesterday, praised the fact that certain foreign leaders referring to North Korea and China in that particular circumstance ironically didn’t have to go to the people to get a second term which just prevented them from being able to get on with what they had to do. It’s hardly, as history tells us time and again, only left wingers who prefer that form of Governance, indeed there have been far more right wingers often equally with ‘socialist’ in their names ironically, who love not having to be questioned about how they run things ‘in the name of the people’. And ironically they do love a riot or two to create the circumstances to achieve the very form of Govt they claim to be saving us all from.

    2. Cook failed business 101. He didnt diversify his production. Even today, not even 1% of iPhones are made in the USA. He’s done many good things, some not so good things, he certainly doesn’t have great tech vision. But this failure is just unforgivable. Failure to diversify, this is such a basic business practice, to have failed at it is intolerable.

      He’s diversifying around 10%, now, to India (good) and Vietnam (yet another hostile communist govt that he will enrich to be the enemy of the USA–not so good), and again, he has utterly failed to diversify ANY production capacity into the USA. Not even 1%. This is an unforgivable mistake. He should be replaced.

      “hit the road jack…you just aint no good…”

      1. Vietnam is a damn good ally as things stand taking part in UN missions and military ex Ganges with friendly powers and actually it’s independence movement wasn’t actually ‘communist’ until foreign powers tried to stop it and drove them into that particular camp to achieve their rightful goal. Now they don’t need that and have formed a pragmatic view on the world even forgiven the evil done against them, is remarkably open to the world considering and certainly not allied to Russia or China, indeed it is very much in dispute with China over all sorts of matters even fighting them off. Now they just want to be their own man just as certain revolutionaries did in 1776. Seems Tim Cook isn’t the only hypocrite, we all tend to be when it suits us and our preferences or prejudices sadly.
        The sooner Apple and others diverse there and elsewhere the better to help reverse the one dimensional thinking of the past that mostly one eyed capitalist thinking created sadly. The hope of returning much of this production to the US is for the foreseeable future a pipe dream. Again capitalism dictates it goes to where production costs are lowest.

        1. I keep waiting for all the people who want to relocate iPhone assembly stateside to explain where it is possible to find half a million qualified workers willing to move to the new factory town… or a town willing to accept them.

          1. Why? Because you expect every aspect of assembly to be started up at once rather than piecemeal? Are they not making them in India?

            Typical status-quo loon who throws his hands up and says it can’t be done.

            1. I’m not saying it can’t be done. I’m saying that it can’t be done overnight like the Tim Cook haters demand. It is going to take time to get out of China and in the meantime Apple is obligated to obey local laws, no matter how “unAmerican” they might appear.

            2. I haven’t seen anyone demand it overnight.

              Make some moves, give some guidance, walk the razor’s edge till it is done.

              In the meantime, China can play tough with companies like H&M to scare others as long as China thinks they hold all the cards.

              I say call their bluff. Let them suffer slowly as Apple and others pull out and give more business to Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan, India, Indonesia and all of the other countries that ring China (plus, of course, America) just to show them what the world thinks.

              In ten years China will be groveling to the Western World for business…again.

            3. TowerTone, if you don’t think anyone is demanding that Apple stop doing business with China immediately, you haven’t been reading what GeoB, Kent, and several others have been saying. They clearly believe that any continued commercial operations by Apple or any of its suppliers within the People’s Republic of China is so morally problematic that it requires making a clean break. Some postings here have expressly blamed Apple for complicity in genocide comparable to the Holocaust.

              On that view, continued compliance with Chinese law constitutes “kowtowing” and must cease forthwith… which would clearly require a complete and immediate withdrawal from mainland China. The financial consideration that Apple would lose at least 80-90% of its production capacity during the several years that would be necessary to build replacement facilities is a trivial concern, worthy only of “bean-counters.” Going years with almost no product to sell does not bother these critics, and they think it should not bother Apple management, employees, contractors, suppliers, or customers, either.

              It is obvious to anybody who does not have an axe to grind that Tim Cook is trying to reverse Steve Jobs’ decision to rely so heavily on China, but that the sheer scale of Apple’s operations makes that a project that will take years, not days. Apple ALWAYS keeps its future plans under wraps. It is not going to make public announcements about getting out of China until it has a viable alternative.

              Direct criticism of the Chinese government (much less the open violation of Chinese law) is not a viable option for a business that needs to continue operating there in the short run. The People’s Republic of China is a dictatorship that does not tolerate criticism. Apple cannot afford to receive the same treatment that H&M just got for some fairly mild comments about trying to source cotton that was not raised by forced labor. Apple has a history of saying as much or more.

              Unlike his critics, Tim Cook has moral obligations to his shareholders, investors, employees, contractors, suppliers, and customers. GeoB and Kent do not have to worry about thousands of people who depend on them and who could face reeducation camps or worse. Cook does. That makes the issue of Apple-China relations more than just a black and white picture.

            4. In response to TxUser Monday, March 29, 2021 at 12:29 am

              “GeoB and Kent do not have to worry about thousands of people who depend on them and who could face reeducation camps or worse. Cook does. That makes the issue of Apple-China relations more than just a black and white picture.”

              What the hell are you talking about? You support Cook in Communist China and the people in “reeducation camps” brainless are not Apple contracted employees in China. They are victims of systemic CCP abuse for their heritage, religion or sexual preferences and you have NEVER UTTERRED ONE WORD of support for them.

              You are a despicable and disgusting LIAR and false prophet of human rights virtue…

            5. I have to laugh at TxDeflection dismissal of the facts. He FALSELY claims once again, Cook haters want it done overnight. Totally FALSE and another LIE from TxDeflection. Apple, work on moving manufacturing out of China everyday until it is done. Don’t listen to the liar rudely speaking for others.

              Also have to laugh at his repeated meme, “Apple is obligated to obey local laws” yes, that would be CCP totalitarian laws that are the most abusive in human rights today.

              TxDeflection will NEVER, EVER, ACKNOWLEGE the abusive CCP and the kowtowing by Cook’s Apple to CCP CENSORSHIP. He is simply a volume of EXCUSES and APOLOGIES for Apple…

          2. I have repeatedly called the People’s Republic of China a totalitarian dictatorship capable of shutting down Apple’s operations without any semblance of due process. I have warned that the PRC is capable of arbitrarily sending Apple’s million or so Chinese employees and contract workers off to prison camps if Tim Cook makes a serious misstep. It has already done so to millions of others who have resisted Borg-like assimilation by the Communist led Mandarin speaking ethnically Han majority. Is that critical enough for you?

            I have acknowledged that the Chinese laws on liberty are the antithesis of those enshrined in the US Constitution and would be intolerable to a free people. Unfortunately, the residents of the PRC are not a free people. They, and the guest workers among them, do not have the meaningful ability to ignore those laws. They can obey them, or they can attempt an escape into an outside world that is increasingly hostile to immigrants and refugees.

            Every indication is that Apple is moving out as fast as it can, but that is not very fast. While it is in China, it must obey local laws or face immediate expulsion and retaliation against those who cannot escape. There is no third choice, and you know it.

    1. Indeed!

      MDN is extremely honest like a good parent analogy in raising a child (Apple). When the child gets out of line disciplined and taught the right way. When the child excels is praised and loved.

      I have read all the Apple fanboy and Apple tech news sites and for the reason stated above, and a wide VARIETY of articles including some tech stories involving politics, that the purists incessantly whine about, MDN is simply, DA BEST!… 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

          1. I have had three postings removed without explanation or comment in just the last week. I didn’t complain because it is MDN’s site and they have the moral and legal right to control their own property. As does Apple, not coincidentally. That’s what it means to have freedom of speech.

  2. It appears that Apple does not use its own geographic data for locations within China. Instead, it relies on real-time map data from AutoNavi Holdings, which also provides the data for automakers and other map apps within China. The People’s Liberation Army does not want foreign cartographers traveling around the country compiling independent maps. That has been true since at least 2012.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/BL-CJB-16541

    Ultimately, of course, the data flow to and from AutoNavi is controlled by the government to protect what it regards as sensitive information. Apple has absolutely no control over what is, or is not, included. Its only choice is to serve up the AutoNavi data in Apple Maps or have the app stop working entirely. Either way, nobody is going to be using Apple Maps to find an H&M store.

    1. It appears that, as usual, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

      Acting as if Apple doesn’t have access to the data stream of their own Maps app means you are either stupid or a liar.

      Apple could easily insert all H&M locations in China into Maps, at will, but they won’t because Tim Cook is owned by the CCP like a pet.

      1. Why do you assume that Apple maintains its own real-time geographic information database for China that operates independently of updates and “corrections” from AutoNavi?

            1. The bigger picture is not whether Apple erased the maps or doesn’t have the DATA.

              Apple indirectly supports this type of human trafficking simply by doing enormous amounts of business with China.

              Hopefully they are seeing the future is better without the CCP and will continue to move operations elsewhere as soon as possible.

            2. You couldn’t afford what I’d charge for that information.

              Oh, by the way, you promised us utter calamity because Texas citizens regained their freedom of choice. You were totally wrong about that, too.

              If you were really concerned about COVID-19 spread, you’d be protesting the “Biden” admin 🤣 (another, even bigger China puppet) over letting COVID-infected illegal aliens stream across the southern border into the U.S. But you’re not really concerned about COVID-19 spread, so you don’t utter a peep.

              Great “president” that Zuckerberg bought, huh?

              But, hey, no more mean tweets!*

              *not sure if Biden is even capable of staying awake long enough to tweet, much less type out a whole 140 characters or less.

            3. Cases in Texas began rising about when you would expect, two weeks after the end of the mandate. The seven-day average is 3683, but the total yesterday was 5391. Based on prior experience, hospitalizations will lag the rise in cases by a week or two, with deaths rising a week or two after that. We can only hope that the vaccination rate can blunt the coming spike in cases and deaths.

              I gather that you still don’t have an answer for the fact that Apple Map data for China accessible inside China comes from a state-controlled source, and is therefore not under Apple’s control.

          1. Also explain why, if everybody isn’t relying on a single source of data, that H&M disappeared from ALL the map and rideshare apps at exactly the same time?

            1. For a discussion of how maps of China cannot be published inside China without using data from a state-run company:

              https://www.reddit.com/r/applemaps/comments/c00yt9/apple_maps_in_china_is_nothing_like_youll_ever/

              Yes, China is a horrible murderous totalitarian state, but until Apple can extricate itself it has no choice about complying with applicable local laws. It appears to be getting out as fast as it reasonably can. Leaving cold turkey will harm Apple employees, contractors, and customers more than it will help anyone.

            2. TxUser is an Apple and, specifically, a Tim Cook apologist.

              He tries and fails to explain away Apple Maps censorship while ignoring all the rest of the inconvenient (to him) facts:

              Apple CEO Tim Cook’s continued kowtowing to China is a very bad look – October 10, 2019
              • Apple removes Quartz news app from App Store in China over Hong Kong coverage – October 10, 2019
              • Apple kowtows to China by censoring Taiwan flag emoji – October 7, 2019
              • Apple Music censors songs in China that reference Tiananmen massacre, democracy – April 9, 2019
              Apple removes VPN apps from China App Store – July 29, 2017
              • In bid to improve censorship, China to summon Apple execs to discuss stricter App Store oversight – April 20, 2017
              • Apple removes New York Times apps from App Store in China at behest of Chinese government – January 4, 2017

            3. “Facts” are Fun,

              I both tried and succeeded in explaining why H&M no longer appears on Apple Maps inside China (or indeed on any other app or online map available inside China). You chose not to believe the unfun facts because they don’t fit into your preconceived notion about Tim Cook. None of the other stories you have linked has squat to do with the map issue.

            4. Just tried searching for “H&M China” on Google and Bing. Selected “Maps” as the filter and found that Google still shows a huge number of locations. Bing, not a one. Just to check if Bing was working properly I even changed “China” to “London” and got results. Guess Google has their own data that China is not able to blank outside China.

            5. Xennex, if you are outside China, a search on Apple Maps for an H&M store will bring up 19 locations in Beijing alone. The issue is that every map app or web site accessible from inside China relies on the government data that is suppressing those locations. If you have access to a VPN to examine both the in-China and outside-China versions of Apple Maps, you can see that the maps of China accessible from inside the country are more detailed, besides being censored. Bing may not bother to maintain its own independent database, just using the government data from everywhere. Google does not have the problem, since their app and website are blocked inside China.

    2. “Ultimately, of course, the data flow to and from AutoNavi is controlled by the government to protect what it regards as sensitive information.”

      TRANSLATION: TxUseless exactly like his hero Cook, totally compliant with CCP CENSORSHIP…

      1. There is a Chinese law that map data served to computers and phones in China must come from a government-controlled source. The data (including data on China) on Apple Maps outside China is controlled by Apple. The data on China within China comes from AutoNavi because that is the only way that Apple (or any other company) can provide an app at all. The choice for Apple is therefore not between censored and uncensored maps within China. It is between censored maps and no maps at all.

        If you were a Chinese iPhone owner, would you prefer (1) having no way to find an H&M store or (2) having no way to find the nearest hospital or gas station? Those are the choices in the real world; there is no third option.

        If you want to call obeying Chinese law about map data or American law about child pornography “censorship,” be my guest. I’m sorry that Apple’s policy to obey local laws in each jurisdiction where it does business bothers you. What company are you thinking of that regularly breaks the law and gets away with it?

          1. Bottom line: you don’t think Apple can be expected to obey the laws of the countries where they do business. That attitude is not helpful for a company that earns 60% of its revenue outside the United States.

    1. If you were in China today, you would find that none of the other locally accessible map or rideshare apps (or websites, for that matter) show any H&M shops, either. Google Maps certainly doesn’t, as it is not available in mainland China at all. The term “competition” is purely relative in a communist dictatorship.

        1. Competition in a free society is really competition. “Competition” in a dictatorship is whatever the government chooses to allow. Apple Maps may not be a patch on the competition in some countries, but in China it is serving up the same government data as everybody else.

            1. GeoB, you tell us that you work for a major international company. Have you sent an email up your reporting chain, cc’d to the CEO, explaining that you don’t think they should follow the local laws of the countries where they do business? If you did, and you are still working there, the only explanation is that they are a criminal enterprise. Let us know who they are so we can inform the Feds and perhaps you can make that argument in a courtroom.

  3. Why are most here blaming Tim Cook without having a clue what his roll in this picture actually is. If he does not have control over the source data.. then why is being bashed?.. or is this an opportunistic moment for those who dont like him to throw unfounded presumptuous blame at him.

      1. How can you ask, “You don’t know Brainless?” He knows somebody who doesn’t understand that Apple cannot serve up data within the Great Firewall of China that has been blocked by the operators of said firewall. That sounds like Brainless to me.

        1. Yes, the CCP firewall dictated by China officials to wall themselves off from the free world to grow their dictatorship and HIDE human rights abuses. Hmmm, was it Bill Gates that had a hand in building the firewall?…

  4. No, Cook is neither a Commie sympathizer nor is he China’s lapdog. And please, China is not even Communist; It’s Capitalist/Totalitarian. What do all you Rightwingers expect Cook to do, get the USAF to bomb China in order to convince China to give data to Apple Maps? geez.

  5. Spewing quotes that you routinely don’t back up with action and accepting awards, plaudits, and board positions for “free speech” and “human rights” while altering maps, banning publications, and pulling apps are tough actions to reconcile due to their diametrically opposed nature.

    Welcome to woke culture my friends…and it won’t end well.

    1. I think we all saw “unwoke” culture on January 6 in Washington… and that did not end well, either. For how long can a nation tolerate a clutch of snakes who do not obey the laws in any of the countries that they happen to infest?

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