Apple has removed all VPN apps from its iOS App Store in China. As a result, the Group adheres to new Chinese rules. With the VPN apps the censorship of the Internet by the Chinese government was bypassed. At the latest from February 2018 this is illegal for private individuals.
ExpressVPN, one of the affected VPN vendors, has released a notice to Apple on its website. This means that an app should always adhere to the local laws. The App from ExpressVPN would therefore no longer be available in the Chinese App Store, but App Stores in other countries would not be affected by the deletion. The VPN provider also advises its users in China to download the app via an account at a non-Chinese App Store.
The communication makes it clear that Apple with its malfunctions to the rules of the government. This has informed the network operators a few weeks ago that private customers from 1 February 2018 no longer access VPNs. It closes one of the last major gaps in the so-called Great Firewall of China.
In an opinion against Techcrunch, Apple says some VPN apps had to be removed from the App Store to comply with the new regulations.
Earlier this year China’s MIIT announced that all developers offering VPNs must obtain a license from the government. We have been required to remove some VPN apps in China that do not meet the new regulations. These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business.
In order to continue to operate in the lucrative Chinese market, iCloud accounts of Chinese customers will also be stored on Chinese servers. For this, Apple is building a data center in China together with a Chinese partner. It is operated by the Chinese company Guizhou-Cloud Big Data. Apple emphasizes, however, that high data protection and safety precautions have been made and there is no backdoor to the systems.