© Reuters. SUBMIT PHOTO: The Chinese nationwide flag is seen in Beijing, China April 29, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo
Compiled by Josh Ye
(Reuters) – HONG KONGChina’s details ministry has said that all domestic mobile app developers must register their businesses with the government, signalling Beijing’s latest push to rein in the market.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced late Tuesday that apps without proper filings will be penalised after the grace period that will end in March of next year. This change, according to experts, may reduce the number of apps available and will likely have a disproportionate impact on small developers.
According to You Yunting, a legal representative of DeBund Law Offices in Shanghai, the order needs clearances from the ministry. The new rule will have an effect on all apps in China, he said, but its primary focus is on preventing online fraud.
AppInChina co-founder Rich Bishop said the new rule is also likely to affect overseas developers who have previously been able to release their apps rapidly through Apple (NASDAQ:-RRB-‘s App Store without disclosing any documents to the Chinese government.
According to Bishop, app developers must now establish a presence in China or partner with a local publisher in order to comply with the new regulations.
When approached for comment, Apple did not immediately react.
After China unveiled a new licencing method for generative AI apps for the country, Apple complied by removing over a hundred apps from the App Store.
Entities “participating in web details services through apps in such fields as news, publishing, education, film and tv, and religious beliefs must also send pertinent files,” the ministry’s notice read.
Popular social media apps like X, Facebook (NASDAQ:-RRB-, and Instagram could be made less accessible as a result of the requirement. Although these apps are banned in China, Chinese travellers can still download them from app stores and use them abroad.
Before being released in China, mobile games must now obtain licences, and by 2020, China had already removed tens of thousands of games that lacked the necessary licences from various app stores.
China’s most popular social media app, WeChat by Tencent, announced new requirements for developers on Wednesday. These criteria apply to “mini apps,” or programmes that may be opened directly within WeChat.
The company announced that, beginning in September, all new apps will need to complete the filing process before launching, while smaller apps would be given until the end of March to do so.