The long list of US and European tech companies facing a ban in China has just lengthened. We can only guess a Chinese state-sponsored competitor will pop up any time soon as now “Skype” is no longer available for download at any app store on a phone connected via a Chinese mobile platform.
Apple admitted that the Chinese government had asked it to remove the Microsoft owned app Skype from its app stores in China. Google had not responded yet as to the Android version.
“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. Therefore these apps have been removed from the app store in China,” an Apple spokeswoman stated.
China's official state news agency Xinhua cited a Chinese official who said that live-streaming services such as Skype were known to disseminate pornography, violence, rumors and fraud, which ran counter to socialist core values and adversely affected young people.
Over the summer already Chinese authorities had called on the country's top tech firms to join a "self-criticism coalition" and stop streaming such content. A large number of China's biggest streaming services (Baidu, Sina, Sohu and Youku Tudou) have grudgingly accepted the new rules, knowing full well that they risked being blacklisted otherwise. Any new user on those sites who violates that new regulations must be reported to Chinese authorities within 48 hours.
According to Mr Mark Natkin, a telecoms analyst working for Marbridge Consulting, the Chinese regulation will benefit the local players: "One of the things the government always wants to do is narrow the playing field to a smaller number of higher-profile known entities, ideally ones that have a better track record of cooperating with the government."
Just a month ago, the Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp was also blocked in China, joining the long list products to be rendered unusable by Chinese government filters. Others include Gmail, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Telegram and Line.