Apple iBooks blocked in China

Apple iBooks blocked in China

Apple's movie and iBooks services have been blocked in China less than seven months after launching.

The services were ordered offline on the say-so of Chinese authorities, according to reports, and users in China can no longer download movies or iBooks from Apple's collection. 

Chinese users trying to access iBooks from an iPhone will currently receive a message saying, "The iBooks store cannot be used,” without any further information. A similar message is issued to iTunes movie users.

China's media watchdog, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, is believed to have ordered the ban because it doesn't want foreign competition with similar offerings from Chinese companies.

The New York Times quotes Daniel H. Rosen, founding partner of Rhodium Group, a New-York based advisory firm specializing in the Chinese economy, as saying that "China has sweeping goals in its move against Apple. They are interested in protecting the content that the Chinese people see, policing its national security and favoring indigenous giants such as Huawei, Alibaba and Tencent." In this new era, he added, China "is strongly disinclined to accept the dominance of foreign players on the Internet, not least those from the United States."

China is the second-largest market for Apple after the Americas, overtaking Europe in terms of revenue generated this quarter.

An Apple spokesperson said: “We hope to make books and movies available again to our customers in China as soon as possible.”

At a meeting on Tuesday (19th April) to discuss China’s restrictive internet policies, President Xi Jinping of China is reported by China's state-run news service as saying: “China must improve management of cyberspace and work to ensure high-quality content with positive voices creating a healthy, positive culture that is a force for good.”