Apple has removed around 25,000 illegals apps from its App Store in China, amounting to 1.4 percent of its total number of apps on the platform there, CNBC writes, citing The Wall Street Journal.
According to the Journal, Apple’s large-scale removal of apps illegally selling lottery tickets and gambling services was conducted over the weekend, but the company declined to disclose the exact number of apps it had pulled.
“Gambling apps are illegal and not allowed on the App Store in China,” Apple told CNBC in a 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.”
Chinese state media, The Global Times, also reported that the tech giant had previously pulled over 2,500 such apps from its App Store. The move followed harsh criticism from Chine state media which accused Apple of allowing illegal gambling apps on its platform.
“Apple itself has set up the rules on how to allow apps onto its store, but it didn’t follow that, resulting in the proliferation of bogus lottery apps and gambling apps,” Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said in a report.
The company came under fire at a time when trade relations between the U.S. and China are still strained. Some investors have warned that the trade tensions could have a negative effect on Apple, which draws a considerable revenue from the Chinese market.
Apple made a similar move last year when it pulled a number of virtual private network services from the App Store in China because they failed to meet Beijing’s “new regulations.” According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Apple offers more than 1.8 million apps in China, which it sometimes removes from its App Store if it finds they are spam apps or outdated.