Published: Mon, August 20, 2018
Technology | By Lionel Gonzales

Apple complies with China’s rules again, pulls gambling apps from App Store

Apple complies with China’s rules again, pulls gambling apps from App Store

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.

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.

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

"Gambling apps are illegal and not allowed on the App Store in China", Apple said in an emailed statement to The Wall Street Journal.

Apple confirmed it has recently removed gambling apps from its store, but did not confirm the number of apps or a timeline for the removals. 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.

It is not the first time that the tech giant has been criticised by Chinese state media for having illegal apps in its store.

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. As a result, this app has been removed from the App Store.

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In its latest report on the app housecleaning, CCTV also said that illegal apps that were banned from the App Store would still be working on devices of users who had downloaded them.

China remains one of Apple's largest markets after the U.S., but the company faces a constant battle to stay on the right side of regulators.

Last year Apple began removing hundreds of virtual private network (VPN) apps on request from regulators.

It said a Shanghai court has accepted Mou's case, which demands that Apple provide information related to the fake lottery app and compensate his loss.

Apple's strong ties to China leaves it exposed should trade tensions ratchet up.

The state media criticism against Apple also comes at a time when the Chinese government is tightening control over the internet environment, as regulators strive to block news and entertainment content at odds with Communist Party values.

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

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