H&M disappears from platforms including Apple Maps in China

Apple Maps
Apple Maps (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple Maps and other platforms no longer show H&M clothing stores in China.
  • That's because the company has chosen to stop sourcing from the Xinjiang region of the country over allegations of forced labor.
  • Searching for H&M on any number of platforms now returns no results.

Reports indicate that H&M clothing stores are no longer available to see on platforms including Apple Maps in China, following the company's decision to stop sourcing materials from the Xinjiang region of the country.

According to The Wall Street Journal:

For app users in the world's most populous country, the world's biggest seller of fast fashion has effectively ceased to exist.As of Thursday, Hennes & Mauritz AB's H&M had been wiped off China's leading e-commerce, ride-hailing, daily-deals and map applications, as Chinese consumers continued to rage over the Swedish clothing brand's decision to stop sourcing from China's Xinjiang region.

Platforms, including Apple Maps, now show no results when users search for H&M. Other affected services include ride-hailing apps and e-commerce apps. As the report notes, the development is the result of retaliation from China against Western companies, most recently ones that have spoken out over forced labor allegations:

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.

As The Verge notes, Apple relies on a Chinese mapping company, AutoNavi (AMAP), for its maps in China, suggesting the decision to remove H&M listings was out of the company's hands. The Verge also reports that the Chinese government and state-sponsored media "have urged boycotts of Western brands". With regard to H&M, this seems to have been in response to a statement from H&M made last year in which it 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."

This week a report claimed Apple's App Store was hosting apps developed by sections of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a group that has links to Uyghur abuses in the reason.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9