In an illustration of Apple’s vulnerability to state pressure on its business, Apple is purging thousands of videogame apps from the App Store in China as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) clamps down on such content.
The iPhone maker this month warned Chinese developers that a new wave of paid gaming apps are at risk of removal from its app store, according to a memo viewed by The Wall Street Journal, after the company removed thousands of such apps earlier this year.
The app-store purge comes as China has stepped up efforts to police its internet, tightening content controls and censorship, including a demand that Tripadvisor and more than 100 other apps be removed from the Apple store in the country. The Cyberspace Administration of China called the apps illegal without spelling out the offenses Tripadvisor or the other apps, most of which are from Chinese developers, had committed. Tripadvisor declined to comment.
Earlier this month, Apple told developers in a memo that premium games and those with in-app purchases had until Dec. 31 to submit proof of a government license. “Only a small fraction of these games are actually going to be able to get a license, as far as we can tell,” said Rich Bishop, chief executive of ChinaInApp, which works with Western companies to get their apps into China.
Apple had 272,000 games in its China App Store last year, according to Sensor Tower, a company that tracks app business globally. For 2020, it has found at least 94,000 removals from the China store, far exceeding the 25,000 game apps taken down last year.
Critics have questioned Apple’s decision to comply with some of China’s demands, saying they run counter to Chief Executive Tim Cook’s stated desire to stand for freedom of expression, privacy and human rights… Almost a third of the apps absent from Apple’s China store were related to what the [Campaign for Accountability] advocacy group deemed “hot button human rights” topics, such as Tibetan Buddhism, protests in Hong Kong and gay or transgender rights or themes…
MacDailyNews Take: What is so dangerous that the people of China cannot be allowed to read, see, and/or hear? Who doesn’t trust and/or fears an informed Chinese public and why?
A word to the unwise.
Torch every book.
Char every page.
Burn every word to ash.
Ideas are incombustible.
And therein lies your real fear.
— Ellen Hopkins