Last July, Apple gave in to the Chinese government and removed VPN apps from the Apple App Store in that country
. Now, Beijing wants Apple to remove apps that use the company's CallKit framework. CallKit allows developers to use Apple's calling interface on their apps. Other such interfaces are available, but CallKit provides a more native feel for a third party app. It's thought the Chinese object to the use of VoIP that is used by developers with CallKit. Last year, Apple had to remove the Skype app from the App Store in China due to the same reason. At the time, several U.S. lawmakers were concerned that Apple was too quick to give in to China's demands.
Apple recently sent out a memo to developers that have apps in the App Store that could be affected by China's request. The memo notes that the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Technology requested that CallKit has been deactivated in all apps available in China's App Store. Since these apps cannot be allowed in China with CallKit active, Apple suggests that developers make the "appropriate changes" and resubmit the app for approval.
" Recently, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) requested that CallKit functionality be deactivated on all apps available on the China App Store.
During our review, we found that your app currently includes CallKit functionality and has China listed as a available territory in iTunes Connect.
This app cannot be approved with CallKit functionality active in China. Please make the appropriate changes and resubmit this app for review.
If you have already ensured that CallKit functionality is not active in China, you may reply to this message in Resolution Center to confirm."-Apple memo to developers
Unfortunately, this is the game that Apple must play with the Chinese government in order to do business in the country. Relations between the U.S. and China are obviously strained right now, thanks to the brewing trade war. And Beijing might want to make an example out of Apple in retaliation for the U.S. export ban that has effectively put ZTE out of business for the time being. As we told you yesterday, a House committee voted unanimously to keep the ban against ZTE in place
despite the president's recent tweet demanding that the Commerce Department repeal it.
Apple introduced CallKit at WWDC in 2016. You can check out the introduction by clicking on the video at the top of this story.