Apple is adding a new emoji to its iPhone operating system that could anger leaders in one of its most important markets.
The Taiwanese flag will be available on Apple keyboards for the first time when iOS 9 launches in the fall, according to Emojipedia, a website that tracks emoji updates. The sovereign status of Taiwan is a hotly contested issue in Asia, as China has identified the independently run state as a “renegade province” that needs to be reunified with the mainland. China openly opposes any references to Taiwanese independence.
The new flag could strain relations between Apple and China, which has in the past used its state broadcaster to call the iPhone a security threat. China is also well-known for its strict censorship policies on digital communications.
Apple generated nearly $17 billion in sales in Greater China (which includes Taiwan) in the first three months of 2015, making it the company’s second most important region by revenue generation after the Americas.