Hi-Tech

Apple removes 25,000 apps from App Store in China

Apple removes 25,000 apps from App Store in China

Apple said on Monday, August 20, it had removed many gambling-related apps from its Chinese app store as the U.S. giant comes under scrutiny amid trade tensions between Beijing and Washington.

This is after the company drew criticism from state media in China for not doing more to deal with apps for services that are illegal in the country - such as gambling.

Official media has also recently criticized the company's iMessage service in China, saying the company's refusal to monitor communications is a hindrance to authorities.

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) says it has pulled illegal lottery apps from its App Store in China amid tightening regulation and a barrage of criticism from state media.

Back in May, Apple gave an ultimatum to developers with apps available in China that use Apple's CallKit framework: remove CallKit functions from the apps or remove the apps from the App Store entirely.

The iPhone maker, however, has not confirmed how many apps it has wiped out of its App Store. According to China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, there are over 1.8 million apps in the country's App Store. A year ago also the company removed 700 virtual private network (VPN) apps from its Chinese App Store on the request made by the government.

Tim Cook
Tim Cook

The state media attacks came at a vulnerable time for Apple, which like other US companies operating in China, is caught in the middle amid growing trade friction between Washington, D.C. and Beijing.

The Chinese market continues to be a tough nut for the global technology behemoths, and the ongoing trade war seems to be making things worse. It also said that fake positive reviews for the illegal apps had misled some users.

"Apple itself has set up the rules on how to allow apps onto its store, but it didn't follow that, resulting in the proliferation of bogus lottery apps and gambling apps", said CCTV.

Apple's strong ties to China leaves it exposed should trade tensions ratchet up. Speaking on the issue, the Cupertino based tech giant also released a statement on the issue. Apple may also be treading lightly due to the escalating trade war between the USA and China and the possible implications it could have for the company's business in China.

Despite concerns, American branded goods including Apple's iPhones continue to be popular in China, with Apple's retail stores and many other USA -brand stores attracting customers as usual. Apple's refusal to break encryption and allow access to intelligence agencies and police is well known in the USA and other western markets.

- Yang Jie contributed to this article.





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