Apple is ‘hiding’ AIDS charity tie-up from users in China

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Apple has stripped all reference to HIV/AIDS from the launch of a special red charity edition iPhone in China.

The tech giant yesterday announced a special edition red iPhone to raise money to fight HIV/AIDS via non-profit (RED) – though it’s not clear how much from each sale will actually go to charity.

The phone is on sale in Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the UK and United Arab Emirates.

But more questions have been raised today – after it emerged the charity pledge is entirely omitted from Apple’s website in China.

TechCrunch points out that in China, Apple is not advertising the connection to HIV/AIDS that is present in every other region.

The English-language version of the listing on the Apple website states: “Every purchase contributes to the Global Fund to support HIV/AIDS programmes and help deliver an AIDS-free generation”.

The line has been translated into other languages in every foreign market except mainland China, where the line is entirely absent.

PinkNews found that the mainland China listing is even different from the phone’s listing in Hong Kong – which does carry the AIDS charity’s branding.

While Apple Hong Kong states “iPhone 7 now available in (Product)RED”, the mainland China website instead just states “iPhone 7 now available in Red”.
Apple is ‘hiding’ AIDS charity tie-up from users in China


Apple is ‘hiding’ AIDS charity tie-up from users in China

The absence of any charity branding in China could be a response to the country’s cultural skittishness around the AIDS crisis.

HIV is on the rise in China, accounting for about 3 per cent of new HIV cases worldwide, and 2 per cent of the total global HIV-positive population.

There are more than 500,000 people living with HIV in China as of 2014, but there continues to be a strong social taboo.

Elsewhere today, HIV activists have raised questions about how much money will actually be contributed from the phone’s hefty £799 price tag.

PinkNews asked both Apple and (RED) to clarify how much Apple’s contribution will be from the sale of each phone.

Apple declined to comment, pointing a release from (RED) that pegged the total to-date contributions from previous Apple campaigns at $130 million.

(RED) did not immediately respond to a request for comment.