Apple is removing VPN
services from China App Store: providers
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[July 29, 2017]
By Cate Cadell
BEIJING (Reuters) - Apple Inc <AAPL.O> is
removing virtual private network (VPN) services from its app store in
China, VPN service providers said on Saturday, accusing the U.S. tech
giant of bowing to pressure from Beijing to comply with stringent
VPNs allow users to bypass China's so-called "Great Firewall" aimed at
restricting access to overseas sites.
Beijing has shut down dozens of China-based providers and it has been
targeting overseas services as it bids to tighten its control over the
internet, especially ahead of the Communist Party congress in August.
VPN provider ExpressVPN said on Saturday that it had received a notice
from Apple that its software would be removed from the China App Store
"because it includes content that is illegal in China".
"We're disappointed in this development, as it represents the most
drastic measure the Chinese government has taken to block the use of
VPNs to date, and we are troubled to see Apple aiding China's censorship
efforts," ExpressVPN said in a statement.
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A 3D printed Apple logo is seen in front of a displayed cyber code
in this illustration taken March 22, 2016. REUTERS/Dado
Another provider, StarVPN, said via its Twitter account on Saturday that it had
also received the notice from Apple.
Apple declined to comment on the issue when contacted by Reuters on Saturday.
China users with billing addresses in other countries will still be able to
access VPN apps from other branches of the App Store. A number of VPN apps were
still accessible on the China App store on Saturday.
Apple is in the middle of a localization drive in China, and named a new
managing director for the region - a new role - this month.
It is also establishing a data center with a local partner in the southwestern
province of Guizhou to comply with new Chinese cloud storage regulations.
(Reporting by Cate Cadell; writing by David Stanway; editing by Jason Neely)
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