(Reuters) – Apple has removed the New York Times Co’s news apps from its app store in China, following a request from the Chinese authorities.
Apple removed both the English-language and Chinese-language apps from the iTunes store in China on Dec. 23, according to the New York Times, which first reported the action.
“The request by the Chinese authorities to remove our apps is part of their wider attempt to prevent readers in China from accessing independent news coverage by The New York Times of that country,” the New York Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy told Reuters.
“We have asked Apple to reconsider their decision,” Murphy said.
The Chinese government began blocking The Times‘s websites in 2012, after a series of articles on the wealth amassed by the family of Wen Jiabao, who was then prime minister, according to the New York Times report.
“We have been informed that the app is in violation of local regulations,” Fred Sainz, an Apple spokesman told the Times.
However, apps from other international publications, including The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal, were still available in the app store, the New York Times reported.
Apple pledges $1b for Softbank tech fund
In other news, Apple confirmed on Wednesday its plans to invest $1 billion in a tech fund being set up by Japan’s SoftBank Group.
SoftBank has said it is investing at least $25 billion in the fund and has been in talks with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund for an investment that could be as much as $45 billion.
“We believe their new fund will speed the development of technologies which may be strategically important to Apple,” company spokesman Josh Rosenstock told Reuters.
SoftBank has also said that it plans to make future large-scale investments via the tech fund, rather than on its own.
Reuters reported in December, citing sources familiar with the matter, that Apple had held talks with SoftBank about the investment.
SoftBank confirmed that Apple invested, said Benjamin Spicehandler, an outside public relations representative for SoftBank. He added that Foxconn, Oracle founder Larry Ellison’s family office and chipmaker Qualcomm also have said they intend to invest in the fund.
(Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Dan Grebler and Sriraj Kalluvila)