“Earlier this year China’s MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology) announced that all developers offering VPNs must obtain a license from the government,” the tech giant said in a statement.

“We have been required to remove some VPN apps in China that do not meet the new regulations. These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business.”

In a blog post, ExpressVPN, which saw its app removed in the apparent clampdown, said: “We’re disappointed in this development, as it represents the most drastic measure the Chinese government has taken to block the use of VPNs to date, and we are troubled to see Apple aiding China’s censorship efforts. ExpressVPN strongly condemns these measures, which threaten free speech and civil liberties.”