Microsoft's Skype taken down from App Stores in China

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These fraudulent schemes not only harm consumers and divert potential profits for retailers into the coffers of criminals but they can also cause irreparable harm to the reputation of e-commerce sites, causing consumers to potentially think twice about doing business with that store or brand ever again.

While China is home to the world's largest number of internet users, a 2015 report by US think tank Freedom House found that the country had the most restrictive online use policies of 65 nations it studied, ranking below Iran and Syria.

The long-term fate of Skype in China is still unclear. It would also appear that this has been the case for nearly a month.

Some foreign firms, including Amazon and Apple have this year handed over parts of their business to local affiliates, often citing compliance with the new cybersecurity laws.

Many Chinese users have been complaining about the removal of Skype since they were no longer able to pay for the services provided by this app. Most users argue that this disruption had started in late October.

On Tuesday, the ruling Communist Party's anti-graft agency said China's former internet czar Lu Wei, who stepped down last year after overseeing a tightening of online censorship, was under investigation for suspected "severe disciplinary violations", which typically means corruption. Other apps that have been filtered include Line, Telegram, Twitter, Snapchat as well as Facebook and Gmail. The app will monitor your email to see when items are shipped to you, then it goes hunting. The inclusion of touch encryption inside WhatsApp and Skype is preventing law enforcement agencies from monitoring them.

The app's removal comes just weeks after WhatsApp, another popular offshore-based instant messaging and voice communication app owned by social networking giant Facebook, became frequently blocked in China. "Therefore these apps have been removed from the app store in China", an Apple spokeswoman told the Times in an emailed statment. This was to ensure compliance with the country's newly implemented cyber-security regulations.

Xi has galvanized a nationwide machine in which corporations, cybercops and automated systems police content to preserve the party's seven-decade rule. China has requested these firms to remove apps that violate its regulatory reforms and the firms have obliged to it without any conflict. If companies can find a solution then there is a lot to gain with the partnership with the Chinese market.

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