Apple Removing VPN Services from Its App Store in China

Apple Inc. will be removing all its virtual private network or VPN services from its Chinese app start, said providers of VPN services on Saturday. Those providers accused the tech giant, based in the U.S. of bowing to the government of China’s pressure to comply with Beijing’s strict regulations related to cyberspace and the Internet.

VPNs allow the user to bypass the Great Firewall in China that has been set up to restrict access by users of the internet in China to sites overseas.

Beijing has shuttered dozens of providers of internet in China and has targeted the overseas services as it attempts to tighten its grips over the use of the internet, especially leading up the Communist Party congress scheduled to take place in August.

Express VPN, a provider of VPN services announced on Saturday it had been sent a notice, by Cupertino, California based Apple that the software it used would be removed from the App Store in China, due to it including content that is deemed illegal in China.

In a prepared statement released to the public, ExpressVPN said that it was disappointed by the new development as it is an example of the most drastic measure the government of China has taken to block VPN’s from being used to date, and the company is troubled to see that Apple was aiding China in its efforts of censorship.

StarVPN, another provider of the VPN service said on its account on Twitter Saturday that it also had received the notice sent out by Apple about its VPN app.

Apple did not comment when requested to do so through a number of messages.

Internet users in China that have billing addresses located in other nations, will still have the ability to access VPN apps through other branches of Apple’s App Store. A number of apps that offer VPN still remained accessible on the App Store in China on Saturday.

Apple is amidst a localization drive across China, and this month named its new managing director for the entire region, which is a new role Apple has set up.

Apple is also establishing its own data center in conjunction with a local partner in Giuzhou a province in the southwest. The data center is to comply with the new regulations in China for cloud storage.