Courting controversy, Apple tells several Chinese social-networking apps to disable their ‘tip’ functions

“Apple Inc. has seen its challenges multiply in the all-important China market over the past year or so, from declining market share to increased government scrutiny,” Li Yuan reports for The Wall Street Journal. “Now, its effort to wring more revenue from Chinese iPhone users may be setting the company up for more trouble.”

“Last month, Apple told several Chinese social-networking apps, including the wildly popular messaging platform WeChat, to disable their ‘tip’ functions to comply with App Store rules, according to executives at WeChat and other companies,” Li Yuan reports. “That function allows users to send authors and other content creators tips, from a few yuan to hundreds, via transfers from mobile-wallet accounts.”

“Now, those tips will be considered in-app purchases, just like buying games, music and videos, entitling Apple to a 30% cut,” Li Yuan reports. “While it’s understandable that Apple wants to tap the App Store for more money, its pressure on the app platforms risks alienating powerful Chinese companies, turning off Chinese iPhone users and drawing unnecessary attention from the regulators.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple, like many Samsung phone users, seems to enjoy playing with fire.


  1. I swear, the short-sighted beancounters now in charge of Apple will be the death of that great company.

    I can’t defend Apple on this one. If these “tips” are exactly what they sound like, they are mobile money transfers *between users* and not payments to an app creator for in-app content or the like, and Apple is on as shaky ethical ground as owners and managers who steal from tips meant for servers and kitchen staff, and then justifying it by saying they provide the expensive facilities and business setup (restaurant) that make getting those tips possible in the first place.

    Look at it another way: the rumoured(?) person-to-person payments between iMessage users. If you’re the person receiving the money, say as an Etsy purchase, how would you feel about Apple taking 30% of that as an “in-app purchase?” Do you charge around 30% more for users who pay using iMessage P2P payment?

    The difference between charging 30% of transactions against Amazon or Audible is that Apple is effectively targeting *individuals* with this dick move.

    Way to shoot yourself in the both feet in front of hundreds of millions of potential users, just months before the biggest iPhone upgrade ever. Just naming it the “iPhone 8” would’ve guaranteed Chinese people knocking down the walls to get their hands on the “lucky/properous iPhone”, but now who knows.

  2. Good luck trying to get that Apple. Chinese will do what they want, no matter what. Because they think they are better than us and can do whatever the F they want and probably get away with it. Remember, they are still Pinko commies.

    1. Unless WeChat follows up, it may be banned from the AppStore and then a mass exodus to other OSes may take place. I hear WeChat is a VERY popular App in China for good reason.

      1. So this is a problem that Apple has allowed and still persists. If Apple had any control why did Apple not act progressively? If Apple had any control then Apple should act, apparently Apple does not need outside approval to ban WeChat – or does it?

        1. Apple may just be stuck between a rock and a hard place. if they ban they may lose a foothold in China, if they don’t ban they may set a precedent for other companies in and out of China to allow in-app tipping. Sometimes a single killer App like WeChat has great power.

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