Apple is rushing to restore service to mainland China after iTunes Movies and iBooks were suddenly closed down last Friday.
The California-based tech company shared a short statement via email expressing hopes to recover these services “as soon as possible.” Bloomberg reports the shutdown was enacted by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT).
However, no reason as yet been given as to why. Perhaps, Apple’s only occasional compliance with Chinese standards of user privacy hasn’t curried enough favor with the Party. Last year, their willingness to comply with censorship convinced them to disable the iPhone’s native news app in the mainland.
But earlier this week, the company’s top lawyer revealed that it had refused two requests over the last two years by China, asking them to hand over their source code.
This move comes after new communications regulations released in February by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology went into effect last month. The new policies align with the Ministry’s quoted responsibility to “safeguard China’s information security,” permitting supervision of the majority of internet content within the Great Firewall.
Apple’s sense of urgency in remediating this snafu is explained by the fact that mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong make up the company’s second-largest consumer market behind only the US. Demand for devices has fallen at the hands of Huawei and Xiaomi, each taking about 15% of smartphone shipments in the last quarter of 2015, while Apple was left with just 12.5%. Growing sales competition has urged the company to extend their other services to China, launching Apple Pay in February.
Clearly nobody is out of reach from the long reach of SAPPRFT, not even China’s favorite potty-mouthed web star or the most popular reality shows featuring children of celebs.
By Matthew Patel
[Images via Weibo]