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Apple agrees to tighten rules for Chinese App Store, no foreign apps allowed

Published Oct 3rd, 2023 8:44AM EDT
App Store Awards 2023
Image: Apple Inc.

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Apple now requires new apps to show proof of a Chinese government license before releasing their software on the China App Store. According to Reuters, Cupertino started requiring app developers to submit the “internet content provider (ICP) filing” when they publish new apps on its App Store.

This ICP filing is a “longtime registration system required for websites to operate legally in China.” With that, Apple joins Tencent and Huawei stores that have complied with this change since 2017. Getting this license requires developers to have a company in China or work with a local publisher.

The problem with this change is that accessing hundreds of thousands of apps on the Chinese App Store will get more complex. Not only users might have a hard time downloading popular Western social media platforms, but apps like Telegram.

Many Chinese have been taking advantage of VPNs to access the content they weren’t allowed to. Now, with this new change, they may have to use other region’s App Store to access their favorite apps, as not every developer will be able to meet the criteria.

Since China is Apple’s third most important region in its software business, the company is in a challenging situation, complying with the country or not.

In addition, BGR reported that the government was banning the iPhone from official buildings and demanding that public employees switch to local smartphones, such as the ones made by Huawei. Interestingly, while it was first reported that this could impact sales of the newer iPhone 15 models, it seems they are a success in the country – as even Apple highlighted the first day of sales in some of its flagship stores alongside the presence of the company’s high-executive Deirdre O’Brien.

BGR will keep following the development of these tightened rules for the Chinese App Store, and we’ll report back once we learn more about it.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.