Cook said that the apps were pulled due to stronger enforcement of the law by the Chinese government. In 2015, China tightened its policy around VPNs which required all operators to obtain a license from the government. In a statement, Cook said:
“Like we do in other countries we follow the law wherever we do business.”
Despite the VPN app removals, Cook stressed the company’s stance that it would offer products that are of the best interest of local consumers and hopes that China loosen the restrictions over time.
“We’re hopeful that over time the restrictions we are seeing (will be) loosened. Innovation really requires freedom to communicate and collaborate.”
Cook also pushed back against comparisons to Apple’s refusal to unlock the iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters in 2016, claiming that the US laws supported Apple in that case.