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Apple magnified Diaoyutai Islands on map at Beijing’s request

Request reportedly part of a $275 billion secret deal after CEO Tim Cook traveled to China

Diaoyutai Islands. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

Diaoyutai Islands. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Apple reportedly agreed to a request from the Chinese government in 2015 to magnify the physical representation of the Diaoyutai Islands on its Maps app.

Sources cited by The Information say Apple did as it was asked and, to this day, users using Maps in China see the islands at an abnormally large scale, according to The Verge. The Diaoyutai Islands are a small set of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea that are administered by Japan but claimed by Taiwan and China too.

The enlargement of the geographic feature was reportedly intended to make them stand out to Chinese users. The dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands has fermented tensions with Beijing’s neighbors.

A report compiled by The Information claims CEO Tim Cook traveled to China to ink a deal with the communist regime in 2016, in an effort to dodge regulatory scrutiny and allow Apple to keep profiting in China.

The move came after a string of disputes between the two sides, which covered iTunes, iCloud, Apple Pay, and other applications. To avoid further disruptions, Cook appeased Beijing by signing a five-year agreement worth around US$275 billion (NT$7.6 trillion) that pledged investments, business deals, and training in China.

Apple has made other concessions for China over the years. One famous example is not allowing Chinese AirTag customers to use the numbers 8964 — a reference to the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 4, 1989 — in their four-numbered engraving on the tracking device.

Updated : 2022-01-22 10:34 GMT+08:00