| Cult of Mac

Apple looks to China to bolster its growing ad business

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Apple search ads China
Feature launched in China this week.
Photo: Apple

Apple this week launched its App Store search advertising business in mainland China, five years after it arrived in the United States. Called Apple Search Ads, the targeted ads feature works similar to Google ads by letting developers bid to get advertising space for certain keywords.

Debuting Apple Search Ads in one of Apple’s biggest markets comes at the same time that Apple is cracking down on targeted advertising from other companies. Features like iOS 14’s App Transparency Tracker lets users opt out of personalized tracking from other companies. But while they’re struggling, Apple’s seemingly making the move to expand its own ad empire.

US Senate passes bill that boosts American chip manufacturing

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chips
Bolstering chip manufacturing in the United States.
Photo: Intel

The U.S. Senate passed a bill Tuesday that could see the United States invest $52 billion in growing its own chip manufacturing technologies. The $52 billion is part of a broader bipartisan bill. In total, it aims to invest close to $250 billion in U.S. manufacturing and technology.

The bill passed Tuesday with a 68-32 vote. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer described it as likely to “go down as one of the most important things this chamber has done in a very long time.”

It is an attempt to wrestle back control of some of the world’s tech manufacturing from China.

7 Apple suppliers accused of using forced Uyghur labor

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AllOfUS says Apple helps censorship in China
Apple is accused of profiting off forced labor in China.
Photo: AllOfUs

Seven Apple suppliers in China are accused of using forced Uyghur labor, a report for The Information reveals.

The companies in question include Advanced-Connectek, AcBel Polytech, Avary Holding, CN Innovations, Luxshare Precision Industry, Shenzhen Deren Electronic Co., and Suzhou Dongshan Precision Manufacturing Co.

All participated in what are referred to by the Chinese government as “poverty alleviation programs.” However, these may not be exactly how they sound.

App Tracking Transparency makes Chinese tech giant Alibaba worry

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Alibaba
Alibaba is a giant in the world of e-commerce.
Photo: Markus Winkler/Unsplash CC

It’s not just U.S. tech giants that fear iOS 14.5’s new App Tracking Transparency feature. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, with a market cap of $646.84 billion, is supposedly very worried, just like Facebook.

A report from The Information says Alibaba invited half a dozen marketing execs to its Hangzhou headquarters to discuss how to react to the new feature, which stops apps from tracking users across websites and third-party apps.

Peter Thiel says US should put ‘pressure’ on Apple over its links with China

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Peter Thiel
A-list venture capitalist Peter Thiel thinks Apple relies on China too much.
Photo: Dan Taylor/Wikipedia CC

Venture capitalist, early Facebook investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel criticized Apple for being too close to China.

At a virtual event held Tuesday by California nonprofit Richard Nixon Foundation, Thiel said the United States should put a “lot of pressure” on Apple because of its links to the Asian country.

China bans encrypted messaging app Signal

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Signal app
Signal app offers strong encryption.
Photo: Signal

End-to-end-encrypted messaging app Signal is secure. So secure, in fact, that it’s the European Union’s encrypted messaging app of choice.

Unfortunately, it’s also secure enough that it’s gotten on the wrong side of the Chinese government. China has reportedly banned the app in mainland China as of March 16, TechCrunch reports. This is one day after its website was blocked in the country.

China works to circumvent iOS 14.5’s App Tracking Transparency

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Your iPhone will soon offer a bit more privacy.
Apple is making it tougher for apps to track users.
Graphic: Apple

China’s state-backed China Advertising Association is already looking for ways to get around Apple’s upcoming App Tracking Transparency feature, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.

The organization’s approach reportedly involves something called a “CAID.” This can supposedly act as an alternative means of tracking users to the iPhone’s ad identifier, or IDFA. TikTok parent company ByteDance issued a guide for app developers that describes how marketers “can use CAID as a substitute if the user’s IDFA is unavailable.”

Apple expanding iPhone, iPad, Mac manufacturing outside China

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Apple's relationship with Foxconn on the rocks
Tim Cook meeting a worker on the iPhone production line.
Photo: Apple

For years, China has been Apple’s biggest manufacturing hub for building its devices. But that’s now changing, with a report Wednesday claiming that Apple is “ramping up” production of iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other products in other parts of the world.

This is an attempt by Apple to diversify manufacturing beyond China, following trade tensions between the U.S. and China in recent years.

Apple removes massive 39,000 games from App Store in China

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App Store image
All but 74 of the top 1,500 games vanished.
Photo: James Yarema/Unsplash CC

The App Store in China had its biggest single-day removal of apps ever — with a massive 39,000 games given the boot by Apple on Thursday alone. This is as a result of Chinese laws stating that all game publishers must obtain a special license in order to distribute their titles.

According to research firm Qimai, only 74 of the top 1,500 games in the App Store survived the massive app bloodbath. Major titles that vanished included the likes of Assassin’s Creed Identity and NBA 2K20.

Apple boots 94,000 games from China App Store in 2020

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AllOfUS says Apple helps censorship in China
The challenges of doing business in China.
Photo: AllOfUs

Apple removed approximately 94,000 games from the App Store in China during 2020, The Wall Street Journal reports. This is a significantly larger number than last year’s tally of 25,000 games removed.

The escalation comes as China works harder to clamp down on illegal content on mobile platforms. The WSJ says the larger number illustrates Apple’s “vulnerability to state pressure” on its business.