Apple isn’t complying with China’s new app store regulations

The Cyberspace Administration of China has named 26 app stores complying with its new rules

Apple isn’t complying with China’s new app store regulations

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has identified 26 app stores complying with its latest regulatory changes, but in the latest sign that the country’s relationship with Apple is souring, the tech giant’s App Store wasn’t among them.

The new regulations require app stores to provide business information to regulators, and the likes of Tencent, Huawei, Xiaomi, and Samsung have all filed the required paperwork, registering their businesses with the government. Additionally, the regulations require app developers to gain the approval of the Chinese government, and foreign app developers must work with Chinese publishers in order to release their games in the market.

Compliance is key

Apple being found non-compliant is the latest sign that relations between the tech giant and China are souring. China recently imposed a ban on the use of Apple phones for work purposes among government officials, and earlier this month miHoYo and NetEase blocked Alipay payments on iOS devices. With Apple now being found non-compliant, this marks three different instances over the past month where it’s found itself in the firing line.

Could the App Store find itself in a similar position to Google Play? That’s uncertain, but with Apple repeatedly being criticised for its business practices, it’s looking more and more like a distinct possibility.

For its part, Apple hasn’t yet specified how it intends to comply with Beijing’s latest regulations. Complying with the regulations could see tens of thousands of apps removed from the App Store in China, however failure to do so could see the App Store itself be removed from the Chinese market - and as the world’s biggest mobile gaming market, this is likely something the company would be keen to avoid.

Moreover, China’s longstanding ban on Google Play has seen Apple dominate the Chinese high-end phone market, and the country accounts for 19% of Apple’s annual revenue; as such, it seems safe to assume that Apple will do whatever it takes to appease Chinese regulators.

We listed Tencent, miHoYo, and NetEase as some of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2023.


Staff Writer

Lewis Rees is a journalist, author, and escape room enthusiast based in South Wales. He got his degree in Film and Video from the University of Glamorgan. He's been a gamer all his life.