Apple Removes Meta-owned Apps from Chinese App Store

20 April, 2024 Apple

Apple Removes Meta-owned Apps from Chinese App Store

 

Following China's continued purge of western-owned software and hardware products from its markets, Apple recently took down WhatsApp and Threads - two of Meta's biggest chat and social media platforms - from the App Store in China. The decision follows a mandate from authorities which cite possible security concerns. As per a statement from Apple:

 

"We are obligated to follow the laws in the countries where we operate, even when we disagree... The Cyberspace Administration of China ordered the removal of these apps from the China storefront based on their national security concerns. These apps remain available for download on all other storefronts where they appear."

 

With that being said, both apps were already blocked in China, and were not supposedly used much by the public. China is known for promoting home-grown social media platforms such as "Weibo" and "WeChat," to name a couple. Commenting on this development, Duncan Clark, chairman of investment advisory BDA China in Beijing states:

 

"It will cause inconvenience to consumers and businesses (in China) who deal with family, friends or customers overseas. Even if they use VPNs to access their existing WhatsApp apps, these over time will become obsolete and require updating."

 

Interestingly though, other social media and chat apps including Facebook, Instagram and Messenger (also owned by Meta) are still available for download for iOS users. The Cupertino tech giant has lost a bit of footing in the Chinese market, due to pressure from competing local brands such as Huawei - it's even predicted that Huawei's own HarmonyOS might dethrone iOS in the region, based on recent market figures.

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