Apple has reportedly pulled tens of thousands of games from its Chinese iOS store, alongside 46,000 other apps.
These 86,000 apps hit some of the biggest and most well known apps on the Chinese market, with Reuters reporting that just 74 of the 1,500 most popular paid apps are left standing. Chinese laws have stipulated that everything sold on mobile app stores needs to go through one of their regulators, but Apple had always exploited various loopholes to get around it.
Apple vs Chinese law
American companies have always had to be careful when doing business in China. As China grew to rapidly become one of the world’s biggest economic powerhouses, its ability to enforce its own strict and highly specific regulation has grown with it.
It may be that China, having grown tired of the numerous apps which Apple provided without regulation, confronted Apple to put an end to it once and for all. It’s not known whether these apps were simply unregulated, or if Apple was somehow violating other Chinese rules.
With so many apps pulled, it’s likely that something happened to encourage Apple to fall in line and begin taking action to address the many thousands of apps that were being sold in the country through the Apple App Store.
Given how many Apple products are at least partially manufactured in China, it’s likely that Apple can’t afford to get on the Chinese government’s bad side.
What does this mean for Apple?
Apple is no stranger to legal scrutiny. The company has recently been under fire for its monopolistic business practices. Currently, the U.S. Senate has been conducting a number of investigations to see if a multitude of big tech companies have possibly gotten too big.
A few decades ago the realm of tech companies was still young, open, and mostly unregulated, but a few massive giants have become so large that there is almost no way to compete with them. Included in this list are Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook, all of which have used their incredible wealth and power to shape the world to their benefit.
While most of the rest of the world currently lacks the ability to regulate these companies in the same way that China does, many are starting to debate if and how regulation should work.
In the short term however, it seems this will mostly impact how much money Apple and their partners can make from the Chinese market, and could certainly shift how Chinese apps function overall.Published 06 Jan 2021, 00:14 IST