Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is blocking developers from updating existing apps on its App Store in China if they don't have relevant approvals from the country's government, the Financial Times reported Wednesday.
The consumer electronics giant until June 30 allowed games to be downloaded in the country, as developers waited to receive their license, the Financial Times noted.
Apple had issued a warning in February to this effect, and starting July 1, any app that doesn't have a license will not be allowed to be updated, according to the Financial Times.
According to Telegraph U.K., as many as 21,000 apps could be affected.
Why It Matters
The move comes as Beijing looks to stricken the enforcement of regulations against American technology companies in the wake of heightened tensions with the United States government.
"No one is entirely clear how Apple managed to avoid enforcing the 2016 licensing rule for so long," Todd Kuhns, marketing manager at consultancy group AppInChina, told the Financial Times.
" But considering the U.S.-China trade war began heating up earlier this year, the timing is suspicious."
China is the biggest App Store market for Apple at $16.4 billion in annual revenue last year, ahead of the U.S.'s $15.4 billion, according to data from data research firm Sensor Tower.
The move could end up costing Apple $879 million in lost annual revenue, according to AppInChina estimates, as reported by the Financial Times.
Apple stock closed 0.19% lower at $364.11 per share on Wednesday and was unchanged in the after-hours session.
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