China shuts down two Apple services

Apple store in ShanghaiImage copyright

Image caption

China is the second biggest market for Apple products

China has shut down Apple’s online book and movie services as it imposes strict rules governing what can be published on the net.

Regulations were unveiled in March that outlawed foreign ownership of online publishing services.

The rules also required that all content shown to Chinese people must be stored on servers based on the Chinese mainland.

Apple said it hoped access to the services would be restored soon.

Online threat

Currently, anyone in China who visits the iBooks store or tries to use iTunes Movies service is greeted with a message in Chinese saying the services were “unusable”, reports Reuters. Both services have only been available in China for about six months.

The move has widely been seen as a blow to Apple which is keen to ensure its products are popular and sell well in China, because the region is the second biggest market for its products. The shutdown comes only days before Apple reports its second quarter financial results.

The services were shut down on the orders of China’s media watchdog – the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. The action is believed to be part of a wider attempt by China’s government to consolidate its control over the internet and media organisations.

China has defended the restrictions saying online publishing had to be monitored to combat terrorism and foreign ideas that could prove harmful.

The strict rules are also seen as a way to foster the success of indigenous net Chinese firms such as Huawei, Alibaba and Tencent.

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