China's regulators are reviewing a complaint accusing Apple of breaching antitrust laws

Key Points
  • Chinese regulators are looking into an antitrust complaint filed against Apple by law firm Dare & Sure on behalf of 28 developers
  • The complaint alleges that Apple removes apps from the App Store without fair reasoning and that it levies a large cut on some apps
  • As of yet, China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce is only reviewing the complaint and is not actually investigating Apple

Chinese regulators are looking into an antitrust complaint filed against Apple that accuses the tech giant of abusing its market position in the mainland, according to the law firm that filed it.

Lin Wei, managing partner at Beijing-based law firm Daxiao, also known as Dare & Sure, said he and his colleagues filed the complaint to China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) and the National Development and Reform Commission. He told CNBC that the SAIC is reviewing the complaint.

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The lawyers accused Apple of removing apps from its App Store without fair or legal reasons. They also alleged that Apple levies a 30 percent cut on certain apps.

The complaint against Apple was filed early August and it was done so on behalf of 28 local developers, according to Reuters. The law firm did not provide details of the developers involved in the complaint, according to Reuters.

For context, Apple has more than 1.8 million people working in the App Store ecosystem in China.

To be clear, the Chinese regulators are not formally investigating Apple over any breach of antitrust laws. Instead, the SAIC is only reviewing the complaint. Following their review, the regulators may choose to start an investigation.

In response to CNBC's request for comment, Apple pointed to a previous statement in which the company said, "The App Store team works to review more than 100,000 apps every week from around the world, and are proud that most submissions in China are reviewed and approved to be on the store within 48 hours, or less."

It added that its App Store has published guidelines that apply equally to all developers in every country in which Apple operates and that it complies with local laws and regulations.

"If an app is rejected or removed for violating App Store guidelines there is an escalation process for all developers to ask for another review of their situation and assistance getting their app quickly back on the store," the statement said.

Apple has recently stepped up business efforts in China. Earlier this year, the company announced the appointment of Isabel Ge Mahe in a new role of vice president and managing director of Greater China to provide leadership and coordination across Apple's China-based team.

CNBC has also reached out to the SAIC but did not immediately hear back.

— CNBC's Daisy Cherry, Barry Huang and Patrick Wong contributed to reporting.