Apple's China nightmare is about to get worse
- Apple's list of challenges in China appears to be growing.
- The country is tightening restrictions on the app store that would eliminate a popular loophole.
China could soon crack down on a major loophole in its "Great Firewall" that allows its citizens using Apple's App Store to access some otherwise forbidden apps.
The tech giant has been meeting with Chinese officials about restrictive new rules that would take away the foreign apps currently offered on the App Store, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Social media apps like X, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube are at risk of being unavailable on the Chinese version of Apple's App Store as part of the restriction. The sites are already inaccessible by the web, unless users in the country download virtual private networks, or VPNs.
App operators have until July 2024 to register with the Chinese government if they want to continue being offered on the app store, according to the WSJ.
The change comes amid challenges Apple has faced in China, which happens to be where 95% of iPhones, AirPods, Macs, and iPods are made. The country banned Chinese government employees from using iPhones at work a week before the new iPhone 15 launched.
China is one of Apple's biggest markets, only falling behind the US in sales. It accounted for about $74 billion of Apple's revenue in the full year to September 2022, Insider previously reported.
Losing Chinese consumers could cost the company, and the threat is only increasing with the release of the Mate 60 smartphone by rival China-based manufacturer Huawei.
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