China blocks Apple's online book and movie services

Chinese authorities have blocked iBooks and iTunes Movies as part of a new law that prevents citizens from accessing foreign online publishing platforms.

The law, passed by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, dictates that any services publishing content such as movies or books must host the downloads on servers based in China.

At present, anyone trying to access the services are presented with a "service unusable" message in Chinese, although Apple is hoping to restore the services shortly.

"We hope to make books and movies available again to our customers in China as soon as possible," a Beijing-based Apple spokeswoman told Reuters.

Apple launched iBooks and iTunes Movies in China six months ago, following the announcement that China was Apple's second biggest market in the world.

However, it is not the first time an Apple-owned service has been blocked by Chinese authorities. Shortly after the launch of Apple News last year, Chinese citizens were prevented from accessing the service and were shown the message "News isn't supported in your current region".

An Apple spokesperson explained that, in fact, the service was only available in the US, United Kingdom or Australia, but declined to comment further when it was pointed out that Apple users in South Korea and Hong Kong were able to view content.

The law preventing non-national providers such as Apple sharing their content with Chinese citizens was announced in March, with critics saying it is a move to further censor the internet.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.