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. An example: Apple Inc. (AAPL) has removed thousands of apps that were alleged to be against Chinese regulations from its App Store platform in China, according to CNBC.
Apps Removed Over Illegal Content
State broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) quoted a figure of 25,000 for the number of apps removed by the iPhone maker, which constituted around 1.4% of the total number of apps in the App Store in China. Among those, 4,000 apps were tagged with the words like “lottery” and “gambling,” and were reportedly involved in selling fake lottery tickets and offering gambling services.
The large-scale removal of illegal apps was performed over the weekend and comes amid growing concerns raised by the Chinese state media accusing the Cupertino, California-based company of allowing illegal content on its platform. While Apple has devised the rules for content on its App Store, it has regularly remained under fire in China for not doing enough to prevent illegal online activity through its platform.
"Gambling apps are illegal and not allowed on the App Store in China," Apple told CNBC in a statement. "We have already removed many apps and developers for trying to distribute illegal gambling apps on our App Store, and we are vigilant in our efforts to find these and stop them from being on the App Store."
China’s Significance for Apple
China is the second largest market for Apple after the U.S. and it accounted for nearly 18% of Apple’s revenues in the most recent quarter. Additionally, it is the primary production base for Apple’s iconic products, the iPhone and the iPad, in addition to being home to a large number of assembly units and suppliers of different components for its various products. (See also: 10 Major Companies Tied to the Apple Supply Chain.)
While the company has justified the move as a necessary step for adherence to local regulations, the development is seen as another example of the tight state control over businesses that wish to operate there. The issue has gained significance against the backdrop of the ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China and the recent issue of Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL) Google’s controversial move to re-enter the market with a censored version of its news and search app. (See also: Google Bows to Censorship in New China App: Report.)
While the boycott of American goods by Chinese customers is not yet apparent, the ongoing trade war may eventually start showing its impact. In the past, there have been several instances were Apple was forced to take measures to adhere to Chinese regulations. A few of those include the company removing apps for virtual private network (VPN) services and blocking the app for The New York Times. Earlier in 2013, the company had to update its policy after accusations of poor service standards by local media. (See also: Apple in Eye of the Storm as Trade War Expands.)