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Apple Removed Numerous Apps From China App Store

by Abeerah Hashim
Apple removes apps from China App Store

Apple users in China may no longer find various popular apps, such as WhatsApp and Telegram, on the App Store. Apple seemingly removed these apps from the App Store following the Chinese government orders that bar most foreign apps in China.

Apple App Store China No Longer Includes WhatsApp, Signal, And Two Other Apps

According to Reuters, Apple has removed some popular messaging from its App Store version for China, citing security concerns. This move seemingly implements a government order banning foreign applications.

Specifically, the apps removed from the Chinese App Store version include two Meta apps – WhatsApp and Threads, and two other messaging applications – Signal and Telegram.

Apple confirmed via a statement to Reuters that it had to remove the four apps from its App Store version in China to comply with the government orders.

The Cyberspace Administration of China ordered the removal of these apps from the China storefront based on their national security concerns. We are obligated to follow the laws in the countries where we operate, even when we disagree.

Interestingly, while these apps are no longer available for Chinese users, some related apps remain accessible there. These include the other Meta apps (Facebook, Messenger, Instagram), and apps like YouTube and X (formerly Twitter). Thus, it somewhat conflicts with the Chinese decision to ban unregistered foreign applications. Instead, this move, which emerged as a result out national security concerns for China, looks more of a way to increase surveillance over Chinese users’ communications.

Considering that all four apps facilitate secured chats, particularly, WhatsApp and Signal, which are long known for their default end-to-end encryption, it seems they attracted the Chinese government’s ban due to their data protection measures.

With these apps, the Chinese authorities would face problems accessing their citizen’s chats. Hence, the country seemingly banned the use of such applications within its territory to continue with its citizen control practices.

This isn’t the first time Chinese authorities have banned certain applications. Previously, the government even banned numerous VPN apps that failed to comply with its registration policy. The country justified this move as a national security measure. Consequently, Apple also removed multiple VPN apps from its App Store for China.

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