Despite the lure of a big market, foreign companies are finding it hard to operate in China due to its asphyxiating business climate.
In yet another instance which showcases how difficult it is for foreign tech service providers to operate in China, Skype, Microsoft Corp’s internet phone and messaging service has been removed from app stores in China.
Microsoft is not the lone target here, Apple Inc is also facing the same setback.
Late on Tuesday, in response to questions on Skype’s absence in its store, Apple said it had removed several internet phone call apps from its App Store, in China, after Beijing said they violated its local laws.
“We have been notified by the Ministry of Public Security that a number of voice over internet protocol apps do not comply with local law, therefore these apps have been removed from the App Store in China,” said Apple’s spokeswoman. “These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business.”
When asked to respond to requests for comments, the Cyberspace Administration of China, which oversees censored technology, did not immediately respond.
In 2017, China has increasingly clamped down on apps which allow users to communicate confidentially or get around its censorship system.
Over the last two months, cyber authorities have periodically interrupted services, such as Facebook Inc’s Whatsapp, an encrypted messenger app, in the guise of protecting personal privacy and preventing online terrorist activities.
As a result, foreign tech firms are finding it increasingly hard to operate in China due to its suffocating internet rules that restrict local operations.
On Tuesday, Chinese netizens took to Weibo to discuss Skype’s disappearance and were critical of Beijing for being coercive and too restrictive.