The Cyberspace Administration of China has named the 26 app stores that have filed the requisite paperwork to comply with the country’s latest regulations.
Under the new rules, game makers and app stores alike are required to provide business information to the Chinese government, while foreign app developers are required to work with a local company in order to release their games in the market. We’ve already noted that Apple has so far failed to comply, but which companies have managed to reach compliance so far?
The complete list of app stores that have so far filed the necessary paperwork is as follows:
360 Mobile Assistant
Alipay Mini Program Technology Platform
Baidu Mini Program
Baidu Mobile Assistant
Coolpad App Store
Huawei Quick Application Center
iFLYTEK AI Learning Machine Application Center
Kuaishou Mini Program Open Platform
Lenovo App Store
Mobile App Mall
Mobile Financial Trusted Public Services
Nubia Application Center
OPPO Software Store
QQ Mini Program
Samsung App Store
Tencent Mobile Manager
Tutoring Machine App Store
Vivo App Store
Vivo Fast App
WeChat Mini Program
Xiaomi App Store
Xiaomi Quick App Centre
ZTF Application Center
The rise of alternative app stores
In keeping with the guidelines which state that developers must work with a Chinese publisher in order to release their titles in the country, each of the app stores on the list is either based in China, or the business is being handled by a domestic company - for example, the Samsung App Store is being handled by Beijing Pengtai Boxing Technology, despite the company’s basis in South Korea.
What’s the reason for the move? One important factor is cybersecurity. Just as countries such as the USA, UK, and India have taken moves to limit the reach of Chinese companies, China seems to be doing the same to protect its own interests. To that end, the country has long banned Google Play, and recently imposed a new ban on the use of foreign-branded phones for work purposes among government officials. With the approved app stores all having a base in China, the company can therefore limit the ability of foreign markets to gather data on Chinese consumers.
Alternative app stores have been on the rise worldwide, but it’s in China that they’ve historically seen the most success. Despite the ban on Google Play, Android phones remain on the market, and so any users of these devices are required to download an alternative - and with Apple seemingly falling out of favour with Beijing, it’s possible that this popularity is set to rise further.
Maple Story M generated $55 million in revenue in its first 35 days on the Chinese market, highlighting once again the remarkable strength of the country's mobile industry.