Here’s Why Apple Just Pulled a Ton of Apps from the App Store in China

August 20, 2018, 10:05 AM UTC

Apple pulled 25,000 apps from the App Store in China on Sunday, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

The deleted apps were reportedly illegal gambling apps. CCTV reported last month that the App Store contained illicit gambling apps that were disguised as legal lottery apps. Apple hasn’t confirmed the number of apps it pulled, but, if 25,000 is accurate, it would represent 1.4% of the iOS apps available in the country.

In a statement, Apple said gambling apps were illegal and “not allowed on the App Store in China.”

“We have already removed many apps and developers for trying to distribute illegal gambling apps on our App Store, and we are vigilant in our efforts to find these and stop them from being on the App Store,” the company said.

The move comes amid rising tensions and tariffs between the U.S. and China. Apple may be only one in a long list of companies caught up in the trade war between the U.S. and China, but it stands to be one of the biggest losers. The Chinese market is responsible for about one-fifth of the company’s revenue, in addition to the assembly of the iPhone.

The cull also comes in the context of a scandal involving Google’s reported efforts to create a version of the search engine that would comply with Chinese censorship laws. American legislators and Google employees alike have raised questions about the ethics of the app.

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