Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
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  • Google has purged at least 46 apps from major Chinese developer iHandy from the Play Store, BuzzFeed reports.
  • Google would not give an explanation when asked why it had booted the apps, but said an investigation has been launched into iHandy.
  • An iHandy executive reportedly said the mass removal came as a surprise to the company.
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Google has booted dozens of apps from a big Chinese developer en masse without giving any explanation, BuzzFeed reported Thursday.

The apps are from Chinese developer iHandy, and BuzzFeed reports that the 46 apps which were taken down collectively garnered tens of millions of downloads. The apps were varied, with a horoscope app, a security app, and a selfie camera filter among those removed.

The filter app - called Sweet Camera - was reportedly amongst the developer's most popular, with 50 million downloads.

Neither Google nor iHandy were immediately available for comment when contacted by Business Insider. A Google spokesperson refused to explain why the apps had been removed when asked by BuzzFeed, but confirmed Google has launched an investigation into them.

When BuzzFeed reported the story eight of iHandy's apps were left on the Play Store, but more seem to be disappearing - as of writing, only five remain.

iHandy executive Simon Zhu told BuzzFeed that the removal was a surprise to the company. "It is an unexpected action from our point of view. We are trying to find out the reasons. Hope the apps will be back to Play Store as soon as possible," he said.

"As we all know that in recent years, Google keeps improving policies and process to build a healthier ecosystem for users and developers. We are definitely willing to follow these improvements as a developer in good standing."

On its website, iHandy says that it partners with Apple, Google, and Facebook.

Business Insider found at least 12 apps by iHandy live on Apple's App Store. It's not immediately clear if Apple has taken action against any of the developer's apps, and the American tech giant did not respond to a request for comment.

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