Revealing data on how many apps it took out of the App Store for the first time, Apple said it removed 634 apps at the request of governments worldwide in the second half of 2018.
More than 80% of the apps removed were from its Chinese mainland App Store and were mostly related to “illegal gambling or pornography”.
The company said it received 56 requests from Beijing, each concerning the removal of multiple apps. Only one request was rejected by Apple, the firm said in its latest transparency report.
The US tech giant came under fire in 2017 for removing hundreds of virtual private network (VPN) tools from its App Store in mainland China. VPNs allow users to skirt China’s Firewall and access blocked websites such as Google, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said at the time the VPN app removals were due to the fact that they violated Chinese rules and regulations.
“In the case of China, the law is very clear there,” he said. “[W]e have to abide by them in both cases.”