The Strategist

Apple blocked iBooks and iTunes in China

04/22/2016 - 15:33

Apple closed its services for downloading books and movies iBooks and iTunes Movies in China. The decision was made after the company received a request from the Chinese authorities. Their decision was taken within implementation of new rules governing the internet publications and enhancing online censorship in China.

Simon Wade
Simon Wade
American Technology Corporation Apple last week terminated its services iBooks (book reading application) and iTunes Movies (service for downloading movies). Thus, these services had been operating in China during less than seven months: Apple launched them there in September last year. According to the American The New York Times, citing sources familiar with the situation, Apple did it at the request of the Chinese State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. According to Bloomberg, Apple would like to restore these services "as soon as possible."

In February, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has adopted new rules governing internet publications, including the publication of data from foreign sites. In accordance with the rules, the Chinese media can cooperate with their foreign colleagues only with the Chinese authorities’ permission upon condition that the media servers are located in China. In addition, online editions can no longer belong to foreigners or joint companies. Regulations came into force in March. 
The Chinese Internet censorship was one of the toughest in the world even before. The country has limited or no access to social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Arrests and imprisonment of bloggers are commonplace. China has also restricted access to the Google search engine and most of it owned services, including mail service Gmail. In October last year, it was reported that Apple is blocking access to its news applications Apple News for users in China.

According to Daniel Rosen of the American research firm Rhodium Group, specializes in China, "they (the Chinese authorities. - Ed.) are interested in protection of content, showed to the citizens of China. Above that, there is a question of national security and the support of local giants such as Huawei, Alibaba and Tencent». According to Mr. Rosen, in the long term, China's tough policy toward foreign technology companies, including Apple, can have serious consequences for the Chinese economy. "Since China and its citizens receive great benefit from strengthening ties with global technology production, break of bonds is likely to entail serious economic loss", - he said.

China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) is the second largest revenue market for Apple. In the fourth quarter of last year, sales there increased by 14%, to $ 18.4 billion; despite the slowdown in the Chinese economy, the corporation is going to continue to invest in China. According to research firm Canalys, Apple took the third place on sales of smartphones in China in the fourth quarter. The company's share was 12.5%, behind of Chinese vendors Huawei Technologies and Xiaomi, each of which accounts for about 15%. 


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