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An Apple store in Hangzhou, China sees long queues following the launch of the iPhone SE

Apple's book and film services taken down by Chinese government

Apple’s online book and film services have been closed for the foreseeable future in China, after Beijing introduced strict curbs on online publishing.

The new rules, which were implemented in March, particularly affect publishers of foreign firms.

China's media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, reportedly demanded that Apple close its services.

"We hope to make books and movies available again to our customers in China as soon as possible," said an Apple spokeswoman, but declined to provide further comment.

In March, regulations came into effect that prohibit foreign ownership and joint ventures in online publishing and stipulate that all content be stored on servers in China. The move sparked fear of greater curbs on foreign businesses.

In an effort to shape public opinion online, President Xi Jinping's government has implemented an unprecedented tightening of Internet controls and sought to codify the policy within the law, a campaign that critics say ignores human rights and is a burden for business.

Apple's second-largest market by revenue is 'Greater China', which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong, driven by the iPhone's popularity in the world's biggest smartphone market.

But the company has not always had the easiest relationship with China's government.

Earlier this week, it admitted in an American court that in the last two years Chinese authorities had requested that the company hand over source code for its operating systems, a request that Apple refused to comply with.

Despite the iPhone’s popularity with residents, state media once branded the devices as representing a danger to national security.

Meanwhile, Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple, has said the technology giant should pay more tax.

He told the BBC he believed all companies, including the one he started with the late Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne in 1976, should pay a 50 per cent tax rate as he did.

Apple has been criticised over its tax affairs and accused of using tax shelters in order to protect its revenues.

The firm has been accused of using Ireland and Luxembourg to get tax breaks, allegations being investigated by the European Commission.

Speaking to Radio 5 Live, Wozniak said: "I don't like the idea that Apple might be unfair - not paying taxes the way I do as a person.

"I do a lot of work, I do a lot of travel and I pay over 50 per cent of anything I make in taxes and I believe that's part of life and you should do it."

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