Skype has been yanked from app stores in China, including Apple’s Chinese App Store.
In fact, the Microsoft-owned video-chat app has been rather hard to download for the past month because it is almost impossible to find on any Chinese app stores, for either iOS or Android.
Apple told The New York Times it was asked to remove Skype from its app store.
“We have been notified by the Ministry of Public Security that a number of voice over Internet protocol apps do not comply with local law. Therefore these apps have been removed from the app store in China,” an Apple spokeswoman told the publication. “These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business.
Skype’s disappearance has caused an outcry among Chinese users on Internet message boards. They said, that as of late October, they no longer had the option of paying for Skype’s services via Apple.
It is not clear in what way Skype violated Chinese law. Many believe Skype’s removal from Chinese app stores is the government’s way of exerting even more control over its citizens’ communications. China’s control of the Internet has long been an issue, but has increased significantly since President Xi Jinping came to power.
China, for years, has been systematically ridding the country of foreign social media sites and technology. Facebook, for instance, has been barred since 2009 due to government censorship rules as has Twitter. The government has also blocked access to Google, YouTube and Gmail as well as Instagram and Pinterest, to name a few.