Unlike Google, Apple has a pretty good relationship with China, and not surprisingly so as Apple considers China to be one of their biggest markets. However, due to the ongoing trade war between the US and China, it seems that those relationships could be put to the test as it now has been reported that there is a chance that the App Store could end up getting banned.
This is according to a report from The Information (paywall) who notes that over in China, it is a requirement that app stores need to be majority-owned by a Chinese company, but yet Apple has managed to get around that for years. However, with reports that China-owned apps like TikTok and WeChat getting banned, the report suggests that China might retaliate by enforcing those rules.
It goes on to claim that Apple had in the past considered setting up a Chinese arm to help them deal with these issues, but have yet to proceed, although now it seems that they will probably need to take a look at it seriously.
Apple now has a fine line that they need to toe, in which they have to decide if they want to give Chinese regulators more control over what kind of apps gets published in the Chinese app store, or risk losing out on the market entirely. It is unclear how this will play out, but a recent report has estimated that should a ban on WeChat go through, Apple could lose billions from Chinese customers opting to buy a non-iPhone handset and also cancelling whatever subscriptions they have to Apple’s services.