Apple avoids 13b-euro tax wallop

Business | Reuters and Stella Zhai 16 Jul 2020

Reuters and Stella Zhai

Apple has won a court appeal to avoid paying 13 billion euros (HK$115.2 billion) in fines in Europe.

The iPhone maker scored a major win as Europe's second-highest court rejected a European Union order to pay the fines on Irish back taxes, dealing a blow to the bloc's bids to crack down on sweetheart tax deals.

In its order four years ago, the European Commission declared Apple benefited from illegal aid via two Irish tax rulings that artificially reduced its tax burden for over two decades to as low as 0.005 percent in 2014.

Elsewhere, more than 2,500 mobile games were removed from Apple's China app store in the first week of July, data from SensorTower shows.

That was four times as many as in the first week of June after Apple closed a loophole to comply with Chinese licensing requirements.

It had given publishers of revenue-generating games a deadline of end-June to submit a license number that allowed them to make in-app purchases - a requirement Android-based app stores in China have long had. It was not clear why Apple had allowed the loophole to exist for so long.

Games removed from China's App Store this month include Supercell's farming hit Hay Day, Nonstop Chuck Norris from Flaregames and Solitaire from Zynga.

The games removed in the first week of this month had generated US$34.7 million (HK$270 million) in gross revenue and saw more than 133 million downloads in China.

Beijing has tightened controls in the world's largest video-game market in recent years, and firms seeking to monetize games can face a lengthy approval process.

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