(Reuters) – An Apple Inc shareholder proposal critical of the company’s app removals in China received a relatively high level of support at the iPhone maker’s annual meeting on Wednesday, enough to push the company to respond, experts said.
The proposal, which called for Apple to report whether it has “publicly committed to respect freedom of expression as a human right,” was defeated, but 40.6% of votes cast supported the measure, according to company figures.
The proposal highlighted Apple’s 2017 removal https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-apple-vpn/apple-says-it-is-removing-vpn-services-from-china-app-store-idUSKBN1AE0BQ of virtual private network apps from its App Store in China. Such apps allow users to bypass China’s so-called Great Firewall aimed at restricting access to overseas sites, and Apple’s action was seen as a step to preserve access to the country’s vast market.
Wednesday’s vote stood in contrast to previous years when critics made little headway with big investors on the issue.