Telegram’s China downloads unaffected despite Apple’s move, Pavel Durov says

In a post on his public channel on Telegram, founder Pavel Durov stated that Apple’s recent decision to remove the chat app from its China App Store had not decreased downloads from China. Durov framed Beijing’s action not as a move against Telegram, but as a move against Apple itself. He criticized the iPhone maker’s app policies, calling them “centralized” and likening them to a “walled garden.”

“Once again, Apple shot itself in the foot with its centralized ‘walled garden’ app policies,” Durov remarked. He highlighted the difference in app installation between iPhones and Android phones, noting that most Android devices allow sideloading apps outside of app stores, such as the direct version of Telegram. Durov predicted that more users from China would migrate to Android as a result, leading to a further decline in iPhone market share in the country.

Last Friday, in addition to Telegram, Apple removed WhatsApp, Meta’s Threads, and Signal from the App Store in China, citing “national security” concerns presented by these apps, stating that the Chinese government ordered the removal.

Despite the challenges posed by China’s extensive cybersystem of censorship, known as the “Great Firewall,” users in the country continue to access Telegram using proxy tools such as virtual private networks (VPNs). Durov emphasized that Telegram remains popular in China, with users finding ways to bypass restrictions and use the platform.

“Access to Telegram requires a VPN in China, but Chinese people are smart – they like Telegram and find a way to use it,” Durov affirmed.

Just last week, the CEO of Telegram announced that the popular messaging app is on track to surpass one billion monthly active users within a year, highlighting Telegram’s rapid expansion akin to a “forest fire.”

Written by Maya Robertson


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