Apple has disabled the Apple News app in China (AAPL)

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Apple has disabled its News app on iPhones in China, according to a report in the New York Times citing a source with direct knowledge of the situation.

The Apple News app, which serves up stories and media from various news organizations, is currently only available to users in the US and is being tested in Britain and Australia. Users who have the app on their iPhones can continue to use it in other countries when they travel — except in China, according to the New York Times.

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Apple has disabled the Apple News app in China (AAPL)
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When a user opens the Apple News app in China, the top of the app which would normally display the latest news, simply shows a message reading "Can't refresh right now. News isn't supported in your current region," the report says.

The situation could create complications for Apple as it looks for growth in China, the world's largest internet market.

China has strict self-censorship rules that Internet companies must abide by, in addition to the country's so-called "great firewall" which blocks or slows many foreign web services. According to the New York Times, China is now Apple's second largest market, contributing $13 billion to Apple's topline sales in the third quarter.

Apple CEO Tim Cook was among many tech leaders, including Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft's Satya Nadella, who met with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to the US last month. Among the various meetings with the tech leaders was an event hosted by Microsoft, that included China's internet czar Lu Wei, who oversees Chinese restrictions on foreign tech companies.

We've reached out to Apple for comment and will update if we hear back.

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