Apple removes 25,000 apps from the China App Store

Doris Richards
August 20, 2018

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.

The tech giant would not confirm reports suggesting it had pulled 25,000 apps, but in a statement the firm said "gambling apps are illegal and not allowed on the App Store in China".

Apple removed 4,000 apps tagged with the keyword "gambling" on August 9 alone, CCTV reported over the weekend.

The removal of the gambling apps has been widely reported, but originated from CCTV which claimed that Apple had carried out a "large-scale removal of illegal apps that sold fake lottery tickets and offered gambling services". Last year, Apple removed VPN apps from its Chinese App Store after the local government banned services that were not already approved by the state. Chinese broadcaster CCTV said the apps were removed to comply with state regulators, and that 4000 of them were tagged with the word gambling. As a result, this app has been removed from the App Store.

With China as its second-largest market after the United States, the stakes are high for Apple to abide by the country's strict laws covering online content.

A CCTV report last month accused the company of allowing illegal gambling apps to proliferate. Previous year also the company removed 700 virtual private network (VPN) apps from its Chinese App Store on the request made by the government.

Apple's strong ties to China leaves it exposed should trade tensions ratchet up. The Cupertino, Calif. -based company also assembles its iPhones in China, which means the iPhones are a Chinese export that could potentially be subject to tariffs in the trade row. Apple may also be treading lightly due to the escalating trade war between the United States and China and the possible implications it could have for the company's business in China.

Analysts have said that since Apple's operating system doesn't allow encrypted messages to be read, its spam filters aren't as effective as Google's Android platform, which allows users to grant access to third parties to read their messages for better spam filtering.

Appeared in the August 20, 2018, print edition as 'Apple Pulls Apps, Pressed by Beijing'.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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