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Apple TV+ tries to become the first US streamer in China

Apple TV+ cannot yet be watched in China

Apple has reportedly been in talks with China Mobile about bringing both Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade to the country.

It's currently not possible to watch Apple TV+ shows in China, either via Apple itself or deals such as ones in France and India that bundle the service with other streamers. It's also not possible to get Netflix, Disney or any non-Chinese streamers in the country, although a limited number of individual shows or films are released via other firms.

According to The Information, however, in 2023, Apple began negotiating for its full Apple TV+ service to be provided in China via China Mobile. This firm has over 200 million broadband customers so already pay for various TV services via its Mobile HD set top box.

It's not clear whether the negotiations are continuing. However, it's believed that alongside Apple TV+, the deal could include bringing Apple Arcade to China too.

Neither Apple nor China Mobile have commented. But it's believed that China Mobile customers viewers would have the option to get Apple TV+ for a monthly fee, and that the revenue would in some way be split between the two companies.

In March 2024, Tim Cook visited China and said that the country remains vital to Apple. He was talking specifically about the manufacturing supply chain there and its importance to the iPhone.

But getting a service like Apple TV+ into the country would vastly expand its audience reach. It would also potentially come under criticism as US/China relations continue to be poor.

Apple has already been criticized for allegedly telling its Apple TV+ producers to not besmirch China. "The Problem with Jon Stewart" was reportedly cancelled partly because the comedy documentary wanted to feature China.

If Apple TV+ were offered by China Mobile, it would reportedly be solely via the firm's Mobile HD set top box. It's not clear, then, how or whether Chinese iPhone users would be able to watch.