The large-scale removal of illegal apps was performed over the weekend and comes amid growing concerns raised by the Chinese state media accusing the Cupertino, California-based company of allowing illegal content on its platform.
AAPL 2.00% said it removed illegal gambling apps from its App Store in China-a move that could help quell the latest challenge for the American tech giant in its most important market outside of the U.S.
The company said, "In order to reduce fraudulent activity on the App Store and comply with government requests to address illegal online gambling activity, we are no longer allowing gambling apps submitted by individual developers".
In a statement, Apple said: "Gambling apps are illegal and not allowed on the App Store in China". Last year, Apple removed VPN apps from its Chinese App Store after the local government banned services that were not already approved by the state.
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Apple has also been accused of not doing enough to filter banned content on its iMessage service.
Apple offers more than 1.8 million apps in China, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
The state media attacks came at a vulnerable time for Apple, which like other USA companies operating in China, is caught in the middle amid growing trade friction between Washington, D.C. and Beijing. However, as we've noted before, this purge has led to some apps with nothing to do with gambling being removed or temporarily removed.
Apple has taken several steps to satisfy Chinese regulators, including this summer transferring control of Chinese user data to a state-owned company.
The US company has also removed hundreds of virtual private network apps from its App Store in China since previous year at the request of Beijing, which considers use of such software as a violation of the country's cybersecurity laws. "While you can no longer distribute gambling apps from this account, you may continue to submit and distribute other types of apps to the App Store".