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Dark Age for Apple in China with Apple's Book, Film Services Going Dark

Dark Age for Apple in China with Apple's Book, Film Services Going Dark
After Beijing introduced regulations in March imposing strict curbs on online publishing, particularly for foreign firms, Apple Inc's online book and film services have gone dark in China, reported Reuters.  
A message in Chinese saying Apple's iBooks Store and iTunes Movies services were "unusable" was seen when someone attempted to access them on Friday in China.
There were demands to Apple to halt the service by China's media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, reported the New York Times citing two unnamed people.
The regulator did not respond to a faxed request for comments, repots Reuters.
"We hope to make books and movies available again to our customers in China as soon as possible," said a Beijing-based Apple spokeswoman, who declined to provide further comment.
This is not the first time an Apple service has been made unavailable in China.
People who downloaded the News app of Apple from the U.S., United Kingdom or Australia App Stores, which was launched last year, can be used in many countries. However a message saying "News isn't supported in your current region" appears whenever those very same people try to access the service on the mainland in China.
While declining to comment on how the app could still be used in places like South Korea and Hong Kong but was blocked in mainland China, the Apple spokeswoman in Beijing said News had only launched in the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia.
Driven by the iPhone's popularity in the world's biggest smartphone market, Apple's second-largest market by revenue is Greater China, which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong.
But with state media once branding the U.S. tech behemoth's iPhone a danger to national security, the US company has at times met with official resistance from Beijing.
In March, regulations came into effect that stipulate that all content be stored on servers in China and prohibited foreign ownership and joint ventures in online publishing. The move sparked fear of greater curbs on foreign businesses.
In an effort to shape public opinion, President Xi Jinping's government has sought to codify the policy within the law, a campaign that critics say ignores human rights and is a burden for business and implemented an unprecedented tightening of internet and media controls.
Earlier this month, The US claimed that worsening online restrictions are damaging the business of U.S. companies and it labeled China's internet censorship a trade barrier in a report for the first time since 2013.
In the face of rising threats such as terrorism and foreign ideology that could destabilize China, internet restrictions are needed to ensure security, officials say.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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