Apple Store
China has shut down Apple’s online book and movie services.

The shutdown has come as a follow up after the imposition of strict rules by the Chinese government governing what can be published on the net.

The Chinese government issued regulations in March that made the foreign ownership of online publishing services illegal.

The rules also laid down the condition that the entire content shown to Chinese people will have to be stored on servers based on the Chinese mainland.

Apple issued a statement that it hoped that access to the services would be restored soon.

The shutdown has come days before Apple reports its second quarter financial results.

China’s media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, demanded Apple shut down the service, the New York Times reported, citing two unnamed people.

However, the regulator did not respond to a faxed request from Reuters for comment.

“We hope to make books and movies available again to our customers in China as soon as possible,” said a Beijing-based Apple spokeswoman, who declined to provide further comment.

Both the services had only been available in China for about six months.

Online Restrictions Needed To Ensure Security

Attempts to visit the iBooks store or iTunes Movies service is now greeted with a message in Chinese saying the services were “unusable”, reports Reuters.

China is the region’s second biggest market for Apple products. Apple’s second-largest market by revenue is Greater China, which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong.

The strict rules are believed to be part of an attempt by China’s government to control the Internet and media organisations.

China has defended its action by stating that online publishing had to be monitored to combat terrorism and foreign ideas that could prove harmful.

President Xi Jinping’s government has implemented a tightening of internet and media controls and sought to codify the policy within the law.

The rules are also seen as a way to encourage the success of indigenous net Chinese firms such as Huawei, Alibaba and Tencent.

Chinese officials say Internet restrictions are needed to ensure security in the face of threats such as terrorism and foreign ideology that could destabilize the country.

This is not the first time an Apple service has been made unavailable in China.

Apple has often met with official resistance from Beijing, with the Chinese state media once calling iPhone a danger to national security.

Earlier this month, the U.S. said that China’s Internet censorship was a trade barrier which was damaging the business of U.S. companies.