Apple reportedly removed 718 apps from the Chinese App Store in the last few days.
According to afrom Telegraph, more than 700 apps — including Sogou, a Chinese alternative to Google, and Pinduodo, an online retail app — were removed from Apple’s App Store for the Chinese market on Tuesday.
The apps have been removed because they were updated outside of the App Store without Apple’s permission. Every newly launched app or an app update must go through Apple’s App Store team for security and privacy concerns before making it live for all users on the App Store. The company explicitly prohibitsfrom updating their app outside of the App Store.
It’s not the first time Apple has cracked down on rule-breakers in China, which has a very different app ecosystem than most of the world. Back in August, Apple pulled 25,000 apps from its store in China following criticism from the state-run media, which accused it of allowing banned content on the platform. At least 4000 of these were illegal gambling apps.
This crackdown is the company’s latest attempt to achieve greater control over the Chinese App Store, which is believed to be the company’s biggest source of app revenue. A report fromin China states that Apple earned more than $2 billion USD in the last quarter of 2020 through the App Store in the country. Analyst firm Macquarie Research’s data notes that China contributes 40 percent of Apple’s app revenue — so the company has to keep a clean house.
Chinese state media has previously demanded that Apple control thein China more effectively. The service is the only foreign app store available in the country, where Google’s Play Store is banned.
In related news, a popular developer hascalling Apple to take a tougher stance on developers that use rogue tactics to “game” the App Store.