A regulatory instrument adopted by the Chinese government could result in numerous well-known apps from the USA and Europe having to leave the Chinese version of the App Store. The regulation that requires a license for every foreign app has actually been in effect for a long time for new software. Older programs have a grace period until the beginning of 2024. Apple has to implement this, but the company has so far treated the topic laxly.
Beijing strengthens firewall
The register, which was approved several years ago, is intended to ensure that an existing hole in the “great firewall” with which China controls IT services is plugged. Large western applications such as YouTube, WhatsApp, X and Facebook are blocked on the web in China, but are still accessible at Apple. Once they have been downloaded, you can then use them via VPN. The registration should now mean that the tech giants will also be required to obtain a license from the Beijing Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. These were mandatory introduced two months ago, but are only now being enforced. Apple has to play the “enforcer” for this.
As the Reuters news agency writes, new apps must first prove that they have been granted a license by the government. For this purpose, a so-called “Internet Content Provider Filing” (ICP) is requested. This must be demonstrated when setting up the app via App Store Connect. In order to get approval, developers must have a branch in China or cooperate with a local provider. But many providers can’t (and don’t want to) do that.
Apps are more likely to be withdrawn than registered
At the end of September, the Wall Street Journal had already reported that this could soon cost Apple important apps. Programs like those from the major social media providers are said to have been downloaded over 170 million times in China in the last ten years. The ICP system has been around for a long time for websites. However, Apple had not yet implemented this for apps. But tighter controls and interventions in the mobile app market are now causing a change.
By adopting the licensing system, Apple will fully comply with local law in the future. The first app providers have already announced that they will withdraw their software from the Chinese App Store. However, there is a workaround: Users can register an App Store account in another region that is not subject to censorship – and then use it in China. As usual via VPN.
To the homepage
#Regulation #Beijing #Apple #threatened #trouble #Chinese #App #Store