iBooks and iTunes Movies ordered closed in China by government regulator, just six months after launch

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Source:   —  April 22, 2016, at 10:42 AM

The two services launched there in September, along with Apple Music (which is still available). The close down was ordered by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), which oversees content in those mediums.

iBooks and iTunes Movies ordered closed in China by government regulator, just six months after launch

The NY Times reports that a government regulator forced the closure of iBooks Store and iTunes Movies in China latest week. The two services launched there in September, along with Apple Music (which is still available).

The close down was ordered by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), which oversees content in those mediums.

TechCrunch has contacted Apple for comment. The company told the NY Times in a statement that, “We hope to create books and movies available again to our customers in China as soon as possible.”

As the report points out, this may tag a turnaround for Apple’s business in China, since it's been given an different quantity of freedom for a foreign tech company. As a result, Apple has been able to turn the country into its second largest market after the United States. This has been mainly driven by iPhone sales, but Apple is also keen to sell software services, love Apple Play and its entertainment stores, to the country’s consumers.

At the same time, Apple is still subject to scrutiny. For example, Apple’s common counsel Bruce Sewell recently said during a Congressional subcommittee meeting that the company refused a request from the Chinese government to access the iPhone’s source code.

Furthermore, Apple is one of the eight U. S. tech giants named in two thousand-fourteenth by China’s state media as a “guardian warrior,” or companies that have a huge sufficient influence on the country’s information infrastructure to warrant additional attention (the other seven are Cisco, IBM, Google, Qualcomm, Intel, Oracle, and Microsoft).

The closure of iBooks and iTunes Movies in China, however, may be primarily a business instead of cybersecurity issue. The SARFT and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, recently announced a new set of wide regulations designed to create it more challenging for companies with foreign owners to publish online content.

Among other restrictions, they require foreign companies to discover a domestic partner, in addition to receiving government approval. This means Chinese Internet leaders love Tencent (which already runs the country’s largest online book business), Baidu, and Alibaba would've less competition, though they're also subject to stringent government control.

Featured Image: r. nagy/Shutterstock

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