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China orders Apple to remove messaging apps from store: WSJ

China has ordered Apple (AAPL) to remove popular messaging apps, including WhatsApp, from its app store, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The apps were removed due to supposed national security concerns, without officials specifying which ones.

Yahoo Finance Tech Editor Dan Howley breaks down the latest development for Apple and what it could mean for the company's presence in China moving forward.

For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode.

This post was written by Nicholas Jacobino

Video transcript

SEANA SMITH: China reportedly ordering Apple to remove some of its popular messaging apps from its App Store. This is according to "The Wall Street Journal."

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"Yahoo Finance's" Dan Howley has the details for us. Dan?

DAN HOWLEY: That's right, Seana. They're telling Apple to remove apps like WhatsApp, Threads, Telegram, and Signal from the App Store. Basically, the Journal is saying that Apple denies that this is an issue with China complaining about security or things like that, or that people could spread illicit content. But that's what's going on.

You can read between the lines and figure that out yourself, just because China has asked companies to pull apps in the past, if not censor things outright. And Apple, basically, always says when they are asked to comply with something in China, that they are complying with the local laws just like they would comply with the local laws in the US.

And so that's really what we're seeing here. These apps could only be accessed through VPNs. It's not as, though, they're absolutely massive apps, billions of users or anything like that. But they are a key gateway for users to the outside world from the Chinese internet.

And so that's the concern here. It's not as, though, Apple's the only one that would have to pull these apps. They would have to be pulled from any app store that offers them as a result of this. But we've seen in the past, where Apple has to acquiesce to the Chinese government's concerns. And Apple does get a lot of flack for this, and, rightfully, so or not.

But it's not the only company that does this. You'll recall that Microsoft has to censor portions of its search engine Bing in the country, as a result of requests from China. So, essentially, any company that you see operating some tech aspect in China that may touch on some subjects of the Chinese government doesn't agree with, is going to have to comply with rules like this to some degree.

SEANA SMITH: We're seeing Apple shares under a bit of pressure here this morning. Off nearly 1% in early trading action. All right, Dan Howley. Thanks so much for breaking down the latest on that for us.