Fuelling the tensions between the US and China, Apple’s Chinese operations, that include millions of Apple customers and much of the company’s manufacturing operation facing regulatory risk.
According to a report in The Information, China may be closing the loopholes exploited by Apple in previous years, “starting with the recent removal of thousands of apps from the Chinese App Store”
Apple pulled more than 47,000 apps from the Chinese App Store earlier this month, as first reported by AppInChina.
That move wasn’t unexpected, as Apple recently enacted a policy change to eliminate a loophole that previously allowed paid games and games with in-app purchases to be sold even though they were still awaiting approval from Chinese regulators.
“The technology giant operates the App Store and many other services without government licenses and local partners in China. That has left it vulnerable to regulatory risk in China as Trump attacks TikTok and WeChat in the US,” the report said on Tuesday.
The US administration’s action against the Chinese behemoths like ByteDance (TikTok) and Tencent (WeChat) has fueled a new war between the two nations.
The Donald Trump administration has also tightened restrictions on Chinese conglomerate Huawei.
That wasn’t the first time Apple had been strong-armed into making significant changes to its services in China, either. For example, Chinese regulators forced Apple to shut down the iBookstore and iTunes Movies in China in April 2016, just six months after Apple launched those stores in the country.
New regulations require game developers to gain approval from the Chinese regulators before uploading their apps in China’s Apple App Store.
China is Apple’s biggest App Store market, with sales of $16.4 billion a year, according to data from Sensor Tower. In the US, the figures are $15.4 billion a year.
Apple currently hosts roughly 60,000 games in China that are paid for or have in-app purchases.