Apple Inc has pulled thousands of gambling apps from its Chinese store after state-run China Central Television (CCTV) accused the smartphone maker of dragging its feet on cleaning up banned content.
Government-controlled media including CCTV this month accused Apple of hosting illegal and fake lottery ticket apps, which they said resulted in massive losses for hoodwinked users.
On Sunday, CCTV reported that Apple pulled at least 4,000 apps tagged with the keyword “gambling” on Aug. 9 alone.
The US company confirmed the action and said that it was simply complying with regulations.
However, the incident underscores both Beijing’s resurgent crackdown on all forms of online content from games to social media and video services, and the difficulties facing foreign companies that do business in the world’s second-largest economy.
“Gambling apps are illegal and not allowed on the App Store in China,” Apple said in an e-mailed statement. “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 US company has much at stake in China, its largest market after the US, as well as the main production base for the world’s iPhones and iPads.
Its market position has come under attack from a coterie of savvy domestic players, from Huawei Technologies Co (華為) to Xiaomi Corp (小米), which offer users more locally oriented services.
The heightened scrutiny by government regulators coincides with an escalating trade war with the US, which has levied punitive tariffs on Chinese goods in what is regarded as an attempt to counter the Asian country’s ascendancy.
The fear is that growing tensions could eventually spur Chinese consumers to boycott US goods, although that has not emerged on a large scale.
While thousands of apps is a drop in the ocean for Apple, its response demonstrates the tricky position that foreign firms find themselves in when operating in a country that can be unpredictable in the way it polices content.
Apple has run afoul of Chinese regulators before. In 2013, it was forced to apologize and tweak its customer policy after CCTV accused the company of poor service standards.
Last year, it was forced to take down hundreds of virtual private network apps in response to criticism about tools to bypass Internet censors.
NO VIRUS BLUES: A SEMI Taiwan official said that the virus does not slow down the global semiconductor industry’s investment in manufacturing equipment The production value of the nation’s semiconductor industry is expected to grow 16.7 percent this year from last year, outpacing the global industry’s 3.3 percent growth, industry association SEMI said yesterday. That would help Taiwan safeguard its second spot in the global semiconductor market with a production value of more than NT$3 trillion (US$102.73 billion), SEMI Taiwan president Terry Tsao (曹世綸) told a media briefing in Taipei for the Semicon Taiwan trade show beginning today. The global semiconductor industry’s production value is expected to increase to US$426 billion this year, SEMI said. In terms of semiconductor equipment investment, equipment billings from Taiwanese firms
Intel Corp has received licenses from US authorities to continue supplying certain products to Huawei Technologies Co (華為), a company spokesman said yesterday. Washington has been pushing governments around to world to squeeze out Huawei, saying that the telecom giant would hand data to Beijing for espionage. From Monday last week, new curbs have barred US companies from supplying or servicing Huawei. This week, the state-backed China Securities Journal reported that Intel had received permission to supply Huawei. China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際), which uses US-origin equipment to make chips for Huawei and other companies, last week confirmed that it had sought
INVEST IN TAIWAN: A metal components casting firm and the world’s largest maker of aluminum bicycle rims also obtained approvals to join the program Solar Applied Materials Technology Co (SOLAR, 光洋應用材料), a part of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) “green supply chain,” has pledged to invest NT$1 billion (US$34.1 million) to build a new plant at the Tainan Technology Industrial Park (台南科技工業區), the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday. SOLAR has been collaborating with TSMC to extract precious metals from waste and reuse them as “sputtering target” material in high-end semiconductor manufacturing, a TSMC press release issued in May said. Established in 1978, SOLAR also offers key materials and integrated services to customers in the optoelectronics, information and communications technology, petrochemicals and consumer electronics industries,
Swancor Renewable Energy Co (上緯新能源) yesterday announced plans for a 4.4 gigawatt (GW) offshore wind project off Miaoli County as part of its commitment toward Taiwan’s energy transformation, the company said in a statement. The “Formosa 4” project includes three deep-water wind farms 18km to 20km off the coast, Swancor Renewable CEO Lucas Lin (林雍堯) said, adding that planning for the project began last year. A proposal for Formosa 4 was this week submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the company said. Swancor Renewable jointly developed the Formosa 1 project, a 128 megawatt (MW) wind farm about 4km off Miaoli and the