China’s two top podcast-sharing Apps — Himalaya FM and Lizhi FM — were yanked from some Android markets amid Hong Kong protests, a move that may cool interest from companies who had been eager to invest in the world’s most populous country, according to TechCrunch.

Officials in Beijing ordered more than two dozen podcast apps to shut down, terminate their operations or have a talk with regulators over what the government calls  promoting “historical nihilism” and pornography, the website says. Included in the crackdown was an app operated by Chinese tech giant Xiaomi.

The Cyberspace Administration of China identified only four of the apps being targeted, the largest being Soul, which had 6 million users as of May. A CAC notice linked to in the TechCrunch story argues that government action was needed. Left unmentioned were protests in Hong Kong seeking the ouster of Carrie Lam, China’s hand-picked chief executive for the former British colony.

  • Apple axed a handful of Chinese-language podcasts from its Chinese Podcasts store, which is one of the few platforms where Chinese people can find content that hasn’t been reviewed by the country’s censors.
  • U.S. podcast producers such as Wondery are eager to expand overseas as domestic competition heats up. 
  • Worldwide podcast advertising revenue is expected to hit $1.6 billion in 2022, almost double this year’s estimated spend of $885 million, according to researcher WARC.  
  • Karma’s Takeaway: Beijing’s crackdown on podcasts, part of a wider effort to clamp down on dissent in Hong Kong and elsewhere, may not only stifle the sharing of information — it may scare away investors.