Apple

China Eyes Apple App Store Over TikTok Tit-For-Tat

Russia’s Watchdog Investigates Apple For Anti-Competition Practices

Mounting tensions between the U.S. and China have spurred fears from Apple that China could shut down the company's App Store in the country, 9to5Mac reported, citing a report from The Information.

The fears come from the current controversy over TikTok, which has been targeted by President Donald Trump's administration as a potential source of security breaches or spying. Because of that, Apple thinks China might be gearing up to retaliate by targeting Apple or other companies, according to the report.

The report stated the fears might not be unfounded because China has already started closing loopholes that allowed Apple to operate unfettered in the country in ways other companies couldn't. Apple has recently removed thousands of apps from the App Store in China. And in China, any app store as a whole is supposed to be a joint venture partly owned and operated by a Chinese partner.

Applications from third-party ventures must be screened and follow local laws, 9to5Mac reported, but Apple has never followed that rule. It doesn't screen anything ahead of time and doesn't require third-party apps to get licensed with Chinese businesses.

There's currently no legal entity in China for the App Store. Apple had planned to set one up in 2013, but executives thought that would have the unintended effect of ceding control of the store. The problem, according to the report from The Initiative, is that Chinese officials wouldn't approve their application unless Apple agreed to concessions in which China would be allowed to approve what goes in the App Store there, which Apple was reluctant to do.

But the report from The Initiative pointed out that the lack of a legal entity could leave a path for China to shut down the App Store.

In separate news, iPhone sales in China were weaker last year as a trade war and other factors bit into sales. iPhones saw a 35.4 percent drop year over year as of November compared to the previous year.

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