Apple pulls 25,000 gambling apps from China's App Store after pressure

The apps were already illegal, but that isn't making life easier for Apple.

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Reuters/Thomas Peter
Reuters/Thomas Peter

Apple is once again removing apps in response to Chinese government pressure, although under somewhat different circumstances this time around. State media reports that Apple pulled 25,000 gambling apps from China's App Store after a bevy of media outlets (again government-backed) criticized it for inadequate filtering that let through the titles, which have long been illegal in the country. Some of them had slipped into the store by posing as lottery apps.

In a statement on the crackdown, Apple didn't directly acknowledge the media criticism but said it had "already removed" offending apps and developers, and was "vigilant" in finding illegal titles.

Unlike past instances where Apple pulled apps, this isn't a response to newly enacted laws -- it's a question of the company improving its compliance with existing rules. However, it illustrates the ongoing challenges Apple faces with doing business in China. It has to simultaneously bow to the Chinese government's desires and deal with the impact of US tariffs, but it also can't easily withdraw from the market when such a large portion of its sales come from the region. So long as Apple wants a foothold in China, it might not have much choice but to respond quickly to outcries like this.

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