Published: Tue, November 21, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Skype disappears from mobile app stores in China

The removal of apps led to complaints from several Chinese users who were unable to pay for Skype's services through Apple, New York Times had reported, adding that the disruption started in October.

"We have been notified by the Ministry of Public Security that a number of voice over internet protocol apps do not comply with local law", says an Apple spokesperson in a statement to the NYT.

Microsoft, which owns Skype, said that the app has been "temporarily removed" from Apple's store and that the company was "working to reinstate the app as soon as possible". "These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business". While Skype, a Microsoft product, is still operational in China, the app is reportedly missing from Apple's China app store. However, that doesn't address Skype's removal on a number of websites from which Android users can download apps for their devices. This is just the latest push from the Chinese government to block Internet-enabled applications over which it doesn't have full control.

Navigating the Chinese government's grip on the internet within the country can be hard for foreign services, particularly in the realm of messaging. Skype app and other major foreign-run tools for online communication are not available on smartphones manufactured by Chinese tech giants like Huawei and Xiaomi.

The long-term fate of Skype in China is still unclear. The government is also hostile to foreign messaging apps in general.

Earlier this year, Apple pulled VPN apps from its App Store in China in order to comply with local laws and regulations.

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