For years, there has been a limit to the success of American technology companies in China. Capture too much market share or wield too much influence, and Beijing will push back.
Apple has largely been an exception to that trend. Yet the Silicon Valley company is now facing a regulatory push against its services in China that could signal its good relations in the country may be turning.
Last week, Apple's iBooks Store and iTunes Movies were shut down in China, just six months after they were started there. Initially, Apple apparently had the government's approval to introduce the services. But then a regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, asserted its authority and demanded the closings, according to two people who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
"We hope to make books and movies available again to our customers in China as soon as possible," an Apple spokeswoman said in a statement.
The about-face is startling, given Apple's record in China. Unlike many other American tech companies, Apple has succeeded in introducing several new products — like its mobile payments system Apple Pay — in China recently. New resistance from the Chinese government to that expansion could potentially hurt the Cupertino, Calif., company.