Apple's China App Store ISBN crackdown begins with update to its developer console

But no games have been removed from the store so far

Apple's China App Store ISBN crackdown begins with update to its developer console

Apple has updated its developer console with an "Availability in Mainland China" section as it begins efforts to curb unlicensed games launching in the region.

As spotted by Beijing-based publisher AppInChina, the new function now requires developers to provide an "approval number from China's National Press and Publication Administration", commonly referred to as an ISBN, despite apps not being covered by the standard.

The section also requires supporting documentation, such as an ISBN Issuing Letter or Approval Reply, and a copy of the developer's latest Business License. This information will then be reviewed the next time a game is submitted to Apple for review, such as for an update.

Keeping an eye out

AppInChina notes that this likely means that any updates for existing games will also be checked for an ISBN and possibly removed from the China App Store if no documents are provided.

Despite the change, AppInChina has not seen any evidence that Apple is proactively removing games that do not have an ISBN. However, it is unclear when or if this will change.

Apple announced that it would reject unlicensed apps from the China App Store in mid-June. For more information on what this means, check out Yodo1's guest article from April 2020 looking at the way regulations in China are changing.


Ric is the Editor of, having started out as a Staff Writer on the site back in 2015. He received an honourable mention in both the MCV and Develop 30 Under 30 lists in 2016 and refuses to let anyone forget about it.