Tech giant Apple has enjoyed massive success in China, in spite of the country’s policy to side with local businesses, but now the company has to comply with Chinese cybersecurity laws and remove VPN services from the Chinese app store, the company announced this Sunday.
“In January, Beijing passed laws seeking to ban all VPNs that are not approved by state regulators. Approved VPNs must use state network infrastructure,” Reuters writes.
Very strict when it comes to its citizens’ digital footprint, cyber regulators in China want to ban them from using VPNs to get past the censorship blocking foreign websites.
“The Great Firewall” has already blocked access to Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox and Uber in an attempt to, on one hand, dismiss foreign competition and promote domestic businesses and keep online activity under tight control, on the other.
A number of VPN providers, including ExpressVPN, VyprVPN and StarVPN, have accused Apple of being more interested in profit than in defending human rights and speaking out against Chinese censorship.
“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 strongly condemns these measures, which threaten free speech and civil liberties,” ExpressVPN wrote on the company blog.
In terms of sales numbers and market growth, China is Apple’s fastest-growing.