Apple removes over 700 apps from Chinese App Store

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Apple has removed hundreds of iPhone apps from its App Store in China, in the company’s latest crackdown in one of its biggest markets.

More than 700 apps have been removed from the Chinese App Store in recent days, according to local reports. They include apps developed by Sogou, a Chinese alternative to Google, and Pinduodo, an online retail app.

The apps have been banned for flouting App Store rules that prohibit companies from installing software updates on their apps without Apple’s permission, it is understood.

Apple requires that app updates, such as new features or security improvements, are downloaded via the App Store itself, so that the company can approve them.

The company warned developers of the new rule two years ago, but appears to have removed the Chinese apps this week.

It marks the latest in an attempt by Apple to enforce greater control over the Chinese App Store, which is believed to be the company’s biggest source of app revenue. In August, the company deleted thousands of apps, including gambling apps, for breaking its rules.

Chinese state media has previously demanded that Apple control the App Store in China more effectively. The service is the only foreign app store available in the country, where Google’s Play Store is banned.

Other apps, such as those for Western news organisations and virtual private networks, which allow citizens to skirt China’s internet controls, have also been removed from the Chinese App Store in recent years.

Analysts from Macquarie claim that the country made up almost 40pc of global app spending last year.