Apple missing from China’s list of 26 registered app stores after requirement to submit information to government

China has published the country’s first batch of 26 mobile app stores that have submitted business details to regulators, but Apple’s app store is absent from the list.
The other registered platforms include Alipay, the payment platform run by Ant Group, ZTE, Coolpad, Nubia and Lenovo.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

China’s small app developers fear innovation being stifled by Beijing’s new rule

The CAC published a regulation in August 2022 asking app distribution platforms – covering app stores and mini program platforms like WeChat – to submit certain information to the authority for “registration”. App stores have a duty to police apps in their stores, according to the regulation, and must refuse to upload apps that “contain illegal or bad information”.

The regulation also stipulates that app stores must cooperate and support “supervision and inspection” from the CAC or other regulators.

In a statement accompanying the published list, the CAC said it does not endorse any platform’s service capabilities or existing apps.

The requirement for mobile app providers to submit business details to the government has raised concerns among some independent Chinese software developers, who expect this move will stifle local innovation and hinder access to overseas software.


How China censors the internet

How China censors the internet

The filing process, which can take up to 20 days, prevents local providers from quickly launching an app and improving over time through rapid updates – a common business model – developer Li An, who runs a five-person studio, told the Post last month.
Over the past few years, Beijing has tightened internet regulation, seeking to curtail a wide range of content, from online education to video games.
The total number of apps in China – an indicator of the health of the country’s digital economy – has also been declining. Following Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on major internet firms, there were 2.6 million apps operating in China last year, down 25 per cent from the 3.5 million available in 2020.

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