Once upon a time, most American companies, including Facebook, operated in China. Now Apple’s large presence in China is becoming very important.
Last week, Microsoft announced the closure of its social media platform LinkedIn in China.
According to Microsoft, LinkedIn has been shut down in China because it is too challenging to operate under strict Chinese government regulations.
However, Apple is also facing various problems related to censorship in China. Just last week, Apple had to remove two popular religious apps from its App Store. After that, Amazon-owned Edible and Yahoo Finance app had to be removed.
According to Apple Censorship, a group that monitors the App Store, the number of apps removed from the App Store will increase this month.
After all, what is going on?
Extensive intervention in the technology industry
It is very difficult to estimate what is going on behind closed doors in China. And what’s even clearer is that companies like Microsoft and Apple are languishing in the throes of a domestic conflict between Chinese officials and China’s technology industry.
China has huge world-class companies, including Tencent, Alibaba and Huawei. But the acquisition of power by these companies is becoming a headache for the Chinese government.
Alibaba was fined सरकारले 2.8 billion by the government in April. Alibaba had no choice but to accept the fine for allegedly abusing its dominant market position.
Last August, the Chinese government unveiled a five-year plan to tighten the technology economy. Meanwhile, the Chinese government has banned the trading of digital currency Bitcoin.
American companies are not immune from the government’s extensive intervention in the technology industry, the Great Tech Crackdown.
James Griffiths, author of the book Great Firewall of China, says that because of the intervention, Apple and Microsoft have become aware that their situation is more sensitive than ever and that they need to be more careful.
The Personal Information Security Act, which will come into force on November 1, will be very important for Microsoft. With the implementation of this law, Microsoft will have to face more complex regulation.
In China, Apple’s preferences are different from Microsoft’s. Apple is more deeply entrenched in China than any other US company. In the previous quarter alone, Apple earned १५ 15 billion from China and Taiwan, an extraordinary figure.
Apple’s global supply chain is also based on Chinese manufacturing. And, what Apple knows is that in order to stay in China, you have to follow Chinese rules, even if it’s censorship.
The question is, why didn’t Apple leave the App Store in China and sell only hardware?
The problem is, Apple thinks the iPhone and the App Store are integral. Apple doesn’t want to set a precedent if apps can be downloaded from its app store to other application platforms on the iPhone. If he does, his income will be greatly reduced. So if you want to sell your product in China, you have to give continuity to the App Store. So even though Apple is following the rules and removing various apps from the App Store, it has been continuing the App Store in China for years.
Various other US companies have already left China long before Microsoft.
Google shut down its search engine in China in 2010, citing a Chinese hacking attack. Google says it is not satisfied with censorship of Google search.
According to analysts, with Microsoft’s decision to shut down LinkedIn, Apple is now the star in China. But Apple will struggle to stay in China.
“As you know, Apple is one of the leading companies in the Chinese market,” says Rebecca Fanin, author of the book Silicon Dragons. Apple is unlikely to withdraw from China any time soon.
No one knows what is being discussed behind closed doors between Apple and Chinese officials. Many apps are still in the App Store because Apple has followed their rules.
Most of the time, Apple does not make public comments on such issues and considers such news as a human rights issue for journalists. Apple has also said it will abide by the laws of the country in which it operates, despite its disagreement.
And, in China, too, Apple is doing it here. Apple will remove the app if government officials want to remove it. Apple’s presence in China seems like a hangover from another era. At present, the presence of big technology companies in China does not mean much.
After all, up to what level of regulation, up to which level of rules are followed and how much censorship will be excessive?