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Apple axes thousands of 'illegal' gambling apps from Chinese App Store

The sweep of a reported 25,000 apps follows intense criticism by state-run media.

Apple reportedly yanked apps from its Chinese App Store.
Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images

Apple has pulled thousands of apps from its Chinese store after state-run media accused the company of being slow to clean up illegal content, according to a new report.

The company came under attack by the government-run China Central Television for apparently allowing fake lottery-ticket apps in its store, which resulted in people losing huge amounts of money, Bloomberg reported Monday.

Apple removed 4,000 apps tagged with the keyword "gambling" on Aug. 9, CCTV reported over the weekend. Altogether, Apple has recently pulled around 25,000 apps from its Chinese store to comply with regulations, Reuters reported, citing state media.

"Gambling apps are illegal and not allowed on the App Store in China," Apple said in a statement. "We have already removed many apps and developers for trying to distribute illegal gambling apps on our App Store, and we are vigilant in our efforts to find these and stop them from being on the App Store."

There are over 130 million iPhone users and 772 million internet users in China, but Apple faces major restrictions in the country. It must remove apps deemed illegal -- such as virtual private networks -- from its local App Store and must operate its Chinese Cloud service from within the country, where it's now run by state-owned carrier China Telecom.

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