Apple Removes WhatsApp, Threads, and Telegram from China App Store

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Apple withdrew Meta Platforms' WhatsApp and Threads from the App Store in China.
Apple withdrew Meta Platforms' WhatsApp and Threads from the App Store in China.

Apple has removed Meta Platforms’ WhatsApp and Threads from its App Store in China, complying with an order from the Chinese government citing national security concerns. 

This action reflects a growing intolerance towards foreign messaging apps beyond the government’s control, signaling tighter restrictions in China and less leeway for Apple.

Other Apps Removed: 

On Friday, WhatsApp, Threads, Telegram, and Signal, two other foreign messaging apps, were also removed from the App Store. 

However, Meta apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger remained available, along with other popular Western apps.

National Security Concerns: 

The reason behind the removal of WhatsApp and Threads remains unclear. The Cyberspace Administration of China cited national security concerns to order their removal. Apple emphasized its obligation to follow local laws, even if it disagrees.

Limited Usage:

 While these apps are not widely used in China, where WeChat dominates, they are accessible through VPNs. However, they remain available in Hong Kong and Macau, China’s special administrative regions.

Experts speculate that the removal could be related to a new rule requiring all apps in China to register with the government. The registration deadline was March’s end, and non-compliant apps risked removal.

Apple’s History of Compliance:

Apple has a history of complying with Chinese regulations, having removed apps like The New York Times in 2017 due to local regulations. Last year, it removed ChatGPT-like apps amid evolving AI regulations.

Reported by The Wall Street Journal:

The Wall Street Journal first reported the removal of WhatsApp and Threads from the China App Store. 

Neither Meta nor Apple responded to requests for comment, and the Cyberspace Administration of China did not comment.

James Adam

James Adam, a noted business writer for CEO Times Magazine, specializes in insightful industry analysis and executive profiles. Known for his clear, concise style, James offers readers an expert perspective on global business trends and market dynamics.

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