The app, which shares information about the location of democracy-friendly protests and police activity in Hong Kong, was slammed by China Daily – owned by the Chinese Communist Party – to empower "rioters" in Hong Kong violent acts, and Apple must "think about the consequences of his ill-advised and ruthless decision."
The developers of HKmap, however, give no indication that the app has been used as a target to threaten police or public safety. They added that apps like Waze, which use crowdsourcing information to shun traffic cameras and the police, are still allowed on the App Store, and found that there have been cases of criminal activity on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. HKmap is still available on the desktop.
Critics say that Apple's decision to remove the app is just another example of the company's commitment to the country's economic powerhouse. Two years ago, Apple moved all VPN apps from its App Store in China. More recently, the Hong Kong-based company has removed emoji under the Taiwanese flag from iOS keyboards. 1