Apple Store has pulled down VPNs in China. The App Store is apparently complying with stricter internet regulations by the country. The new decision will impact multiple VPNs in China. VPN or virtual private network helps overcome censorship policies imposed by the Chinese government.
Removal of VPNs in China – A Dangerous Precedent
The companies providing a virtual private network in China call it a dangerous precedent. The companies offering VPNs in China claim that other countries may follow this example. One such country they fear is UAE.
Notification by Apple
The VPNs in China got an announcement from Apple about the removal of their apps from the App Store. The reason given was that they were offering content which has become illegal. Therefore, Apple’s store will no longer support apps for VPNs in China.
Circumventing the “Great Firewall” of Chinese Government
The users in China rely on VPNs in China to bypass the “Great Firewall.” The “Great Firewall” typically restricts the users’ access to the foreign websites. The users can rely on a virtual private network to protect their browsing history. The government cannot know what you are searching or view online. The encrypted communications also give surety to the internet users that no one is eavesdropping their conversations.
The company argues that in whatever country it operates, it needs to comply with the local laws and regulations. The company puts the burden of responsibility upon the app sellers. Furthermore, it asks all the VPN solution providers that their iOS apps must not encourage or promote reckless behavior.
Reaction of the VPNs in China
The companies providing VPNs in China are disappointed by this move. They believe they expected better from Apple. But they are disappointed to see Apple also supporting the strict Chinese internet censorship policies.
How Big is iPhone in China?
Until the mid of 2016, there were no available numbers of iPhone users in China. However, by the mid-2016 there are over 130 million iPhone users in China. It is the largest iPhone users market in the world only followed by the US with over 100 million users. Therefore, the decision to comply Chinese censorship policies may make it difficult for the company to retain its market share of around 16.8%.
Apple as a company has a responsibility to protect its profits. Therefore, it is unlikely that it would bend to demands for “fundamental rights” or “freedom of access to information.” The company knows that if it has remained prosperous in one of the most lucrative markets in the world, it must comply.
Google Left China Years Ago
Apple is not the first company to grapple with the Chinese internet censorship policies. Google launched its search services in China back in 2006. It had to comply with the censorship policies of the government. In 2009, China disallowed users to access Google’s YouTube. The reason for blockage was a video showing Chinese security forces beating the Tibetans. In January 2010, Google announced that it would no longer support the censorship of search queries in China. Afterward, the company said that it might pull out of the country if need be. Since then, Google China redirects all its search queries to Google Hong Kong