HONG KONG (AP) — Apple mentioned it had eliminated Meta’s WhatsApp messaging app and its Threads social media app from…

HONG KONG (AP) — Apple mentioned it had eliminated Meta’s WhatsApp messaging app and its Threads social media app from the App Store in China to adjust to orders from Chinese authorities.

The apps had been faraway from the shop on Friday after Chinese officers cited unspecified nationwide safety considerations.

Their elimination comes amid elevated tensions between the U.S. and China over commerce, expertise and nationwide safety.

The U.S. has threatened to ban TikTok over nationwide safety considerations. But whereas TikTok, owned by Chinese expertise agency ByteDance, is utilized by tens of millions within the U.S., apps like WhatsApp and Threads are usually not generally utilized in China.

Instead, the messaging app WeChat, owned by Chinese firm Tencent, reigns supreme.

Other Meta apps, together with Facebook, Instagram and Messenger remained out there for obtain, though use of such overseas apps is blocked in China resulting from its “Great Firewall” community of filters that prohibit use of overseas web sites akin to Google and Facebook.

“The Cyberspace Administration of China ordered the elimination of those apps from the China storefront based mostly on their nationwide safety considerations,” Apple mentioned in a press release.

“We are obligated to comply with the legal guidelines within the international locations the place we function, even after we disagree,” Apple mentioned.

A spokesman for Meta referred to “Apple for remark.”

Apple, beforehand the world’s prime smartphone maker, just lately misplaced the highest spot to Korean rival Samsung Electronics. The U.S. agency has run into headwinds in China, one among its prime three markets, with gross sales slumping after Chinese authorities companies and staff of state-owned corporations had been ordered to not deliver Apple units to work.

Apple has been diversifying its manufacturing bases outdoors China.

Its CEO Tim Cook has been visiting Southeast Asia this week, touring to Hanoi and Jakarta earlier than wrapping up his travels in Singapore. On Friday he met with Singapore’s deputy prime minister, Lawrence Wong, the place they “mentioned the partnership between Singapore and Apple, and Apple’s continued dedication to doing enterprise in Singapore.”

Apple pledged to speculate over $250 million to develop its campus within the city-state.

Earlier this week, Cook met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in Hanoi, pledging to increase spending on Vietnamese suppliers.

He additionally met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Cook later advised reporters that they talked about Widodo’s want to advertise manufacturing in Indonesia, and mentioned that this was one thing that Apple would “look at”.

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