Russian officials have stated that Apple must have a physical presence in Russia by the end of 2021.
According to Reuters, the Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor has ordered that thirteen foreign businesses must be “legally represented on Russian soil” by the end of 2017 or risk being shut off from the country entirely.
The demand for Snapchat comes from a wide range of companies, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok.
Foreign social media giants with more than 500,000 daily usershave been obliged to open offices in Russia since a new law took effect on July 1. The list published on Monday names the companies for the first time.
It lists Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O), Facebook (FB.O), Twitter (TWTR.N), TikTok and messaging app Telegram, all of which Russia has fined this year for failing to delete content it deems illegal.
Apple (AAPL.O), which Russia has targeted for alleged abuse of its dominant position in the mobile applications market, was also on the list.
According to the Moscow City Court’s decision, organizations that do not comply with the order will be subject to “advertising, data gathering and money transfer restrictions, or outright bans.”
Apple currently has no physical presence in the country, with its popular retail outlets.
Others believe it’s a government effort to boost Russian technology firms over foreign ones. Others argue that it’s a way for the country to exert greater control over the businesses as they operate there.
Russia has taken steps this year to support and promote its domestic tech sector over Silicon Valley alternatives, proposing taxes on foreign-owned digital services, tax cuts for domestic IT firms and requiring smartphones, computers and other devices bought in Russia to offer users Russian software on start-up.
The campaign also has a political dimension that critics characterise as an attempt by the Russian authorities to exert tighter control over the internet, something they say threatens to stifle individual and corporate freedom.
Apple declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.
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