Apple's book, film services go dark in China

Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:54am EDT
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By Paul Carsten

BEIJING (Reuters) - Apple Inc's (AAPL.O: Quote) online book and film services have gone dark in China, after Beijing introduced regulations in March imposing strict curbs on online publishing, particularly for foreign firms.

Attempts by Reuters on Friday to access Apple's iBooks Store and iTunes Movies services were met with a message in Chinese saying they were "unusable".

China's media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, demanded Apple halt the service, the New York Times reported, citing two unnamed people. The regulator did not respond to a faxed request from Reuters for comment.

"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.

The company's News app, launched last year, can be used in many countries by people who downloaded the app from the U.S., United Kingdom or Australia App Stores. But those people trying to access the service on the mainland are shown the message "News isn't supported in your current region".

The Apple spokeswoman in Beijing said News had only launched in the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia, but declined to comment on how the app could still be used in places like South Korea and Hong Kong but was blocked in mainland China.

Apple's second-largest market by revenue is Greater China, which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong, driven by the iPhone's popularity in the world's biggest smartphone market.   Continued...

A female staff member assists a customer at an apple store in Beijing, November 2, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon