Apple Inc. has been accused by a group of 28 Chinese app developers of monopolistic behavior in the operation of its App Store, the Wall Street Journal reports.
In a complaint filed with the National Development and Reform Commission and the State Administration for Industry & Commerce, the group, represented by Attorney Lin Wei of Beijing Dare & Sure law firm, said the US tech giant violates the country’s antitrust laws by removing apps from its App Store without detailed explanation and charging excessive fees for in-app purchases, the newspaper said.
The group alleged that this practice puts local developers at a disadvantage because Apple does not respond to queries in Chinese as to why the apps are removed, the Journal said.
“There is a lack of transparency in the App Store operation,” Lin was quoted as saying. “At this stage, we think complaining to the Chinese regulators to get them involved is most ideal.”
Responding to the allegations, Apple said in a statement that “most submissions in China are reviewed and approved to be on the store within 48 hours, or less”.
If an app is rejected or removed, developers may request a review to restore the app in a timely manner, Apple said, adding that its App Store guidelines apply equally to all developers in every country.
Apple has been facing multiple challenges in China. Aside from declining sales, the company has to contend with the government’s efforts to tighten control over the internet.
Last month, Apple removed virtual private network apps, or VPNs, from its Chinese App Store that allowed users to access websites blocked by government censors.
It has also announced plans to open a data center operated by a government-backed company to store user data locally, the report said.
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