In a surprise move, Chinese regulators have banned Apple's iBookstore and iTunes Movies from the country, meaning the company is indeed no longer able to sell e-books and movies using its digital stores in China.
The news was first reported late Thursday night by The New York Times: China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television is the group behind the takedown, and a report from the South China Morning Post claims that an independent film, “Ten Years,” is the cause for the move. This movie is set in a dystopic imagining of Hong Kong in 2025, and it's been banned in China due to its negative and condemning vision of the future. Apple has been working really well with China recently, and the Chinese App Store is performing better than ever. As such, customers in the country are going to be disappointed with this most recent ban.
Concerning the news, an Apple spokesperson provided comment to The New York Times, stating:
We hope to make books and movies available again to our customers in China as soon as possible.- Apple
Other services, including Apple Music, are working as before. Apple, however, isn't the only company stuggling to maintain its services in the country. Facebook is blocked in Beijing, Twitter is banned on mainland China, and Google has been blocked in the country since 2010.
It was hard enough for Apple to get the iPhone to launch in China ... remember the drama?
For now, both services are indeed remaining blocked. We'll keep you posted on the situation as further information reaches us.