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Apple freezes updates for thousands of mobile games in the App Store in China while facing pressure to comply with the government's local regulations.

Chinese gaming revenue is an integral part of Apple's income for the App Store, but the restrictive rules set forth by the Chinese government makes earning money a challenge for foreign developers. Developers have been informed they require licenses from Chinese regulators to continue offering their games in the iOS App Store from July onwards.

To put it in perspective, China's App Store hosts around 60,000 games that either require upfront payment or have optional in-app purchases. Only 43,000 licenses were granted in the last decade, and under 1,600 were issued in the previous year.
 

CyberTech

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China's App Store is slimming down as Apple has spent July removing thousands of games that failed to show they have secured the proper licenses to comply with local regulations.

On July 1, Apple had begun freezing updates to games that failed to show that their games had been appropriately licensed. Shortly after, they started pulling games that didn't comply with the newly enforced rules.

Over 2,500 games were pulled by July 7, according Sensor Tower data. Roughly 80% of the games that had been removed had less than 10,000 downloads in the last eight years.

The games removed from the App Store had a lifetime gross revenue of $34.7 million. Of those 2,500 games, one had earned more than $10 million, while six others had earned over $1 million.

China demands that all games receive a license from the National Press and Publication Administration. While the rule was put forth in 2016, Apple was not required to make sure the law was heavily enforced. Now, many experts believe China is cracking down on foreign markets due to the U.S.-China trade war.

 

CyberTech

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Apple has removed over 30,000 applications from the App Store in China, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The report cites new data from Qimai Research Institute, and it explains that games accounted for 90% of the app removals.

Apple removed many of the apps overnight, with the peak occurring around 4:15 a.m. local time, when Apple detected over 2,000 applications from the App Store. The majority of the 30,000 deletions occurred between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. local time.

Apple had warned developers of this impending purge on on July 8, citing regulatory requirements for payments:
Apple sent a reminder to game developers July 8 about its plans for the removal if they didn’t meet regulatory requirements for payments by the end of the month, Qimai said, citing an email from the iPhone maker.

 
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CyberTech

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As tensions rise between the US and China, Apple’s Chinese operations — which include millions of Apple customers and much of the company’s manufacturing operation — could be at risk. A new report in The Information argues that China may already be closing the loopholes exploited by Apple in previous years, starting with the recent removal of thousands of apps from the Chinese App Store. That could potentially spell trouble for the company’s future in the country.

Apple pulled more than 47,000 apps from the Chinese App Store earlier this month, as first reported by AppInChina. That move wasn’t unexpected, as Apple recently enacted a policy change to eliminate a loophole that previously allowed paid games and games with in-app purchases to be sold even though they were still awaiting approval from Chinese regulators.

That wasn’t the first time Apple had been strong-armed into making significant changes to its services in China, either. For example, Chinese regulators forced Apple to shut down the iBookstore and iTunes Movies in China in April 2016, just six months after Apple launched those stores in the country.

 
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