We recently reported that Apple was in the hot seat in China when the state-media started criticizing the company for offering an unfair returns policy. Now, the Chinese government has told Apple to remove certain content from its App Store which the authorities have flagged as ‘obscene.’
The Chinese government has released a sweeping directive that involves some 198 websites, including Apple’s online apps marketplace, the App Store. The notification was issued by the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications, although the agency didn’t elaborate on the exact kind of content that it deemed as ‘obscene.’
Chinese government actively filters and censors content that is available to the users in the country. So if Apple decides to act upon the directive, it may instigate a debate regarding the company’s role in upholding freedom of speech.
Nonetheless, the company needs to remain in the good books of the authorities if it wants to sustain a long-term presence in the Chinese market. Containing hundreds of millions of smartphone users, the Chinese market is among the most lucrative opportunities for smartphone vendors.
After the recent criticism by the state media over Apple’s returns policy in China, Tim Cook dished out an official apology which hints that Apple is ready to accomodate the demands of the Chinese market. But it remains to be seen how far is the company willing to go in doing so.