Chinese social media users criticized Apple after the company showed the flags of Taiwan and Hong Kong while announcing the release plans for its latest iPhone models. State-run newspaper Global Times reported China’s netizens called on Apple to abide by the one-China principle.
Although Taiwan is independently governed, China claims the territory as its own. Many foreign brands such as hotel giant Marriott, Delta Airlines and Costco have come under fire this year for offending China’s political sensibilities over Taiwan and other claimed regions.
Apple is facing a delicate time in China due to the U.S.-China trade war, with the company coming under unusual criticism by Chinese state media for not censoring content in iMessage and for hosting illegal gambling apps on its App Store in China.
The latest faux pas could add more fuel to fire just as Apple hopes to reinvigorate sales in China with its latest devices.