China to Tighten Control on Mobile Apps, Requiring Business Filings
China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has announced new regulations that mandate all mobile app providers in the country to submit business information to the government. This move represents Beijing's latest attempt to maintain stricter oversight over the mobile app industry.
The MIIT revealed that apps failing to complete the necessary filings will face penalties after a grace period ending in March of the following year. This initiative, aimed at combating online fraud, is expected to impact all apps in China and could particularly affect smaller developers.
Experts point out that this requirement effectively demands approvals from the ministry, extending its influence over the sector. The regulations might also have ramifications for foreign-based developers, who have previously been able to publish their apps on Apple's App Store in China without submitting documentation to the government.
To adhere to these new rules, app developers will now need to establish a presence in China or collaborate with a local publisher. This means foreign developers may need to navigate additional hurdles before entering the Chinese app market.
The MIIT's announcement additionally states that entities involved in internet information services through apps in sectors such as news, publishing, education, film and television, and religion should also provide relevant documentation. Consequently, these regulations could impact the availability of popular social media apps like X, Facebook, and Instagram in China, even though they are typically prohibited within the country.
China's measures to control the digital sphere are not new; the country has previously required mobile games to secure licenses before launching in the domestic market. In 2020, China purged numerous unlicensed games from various app stores, illustrating its ongoing focus on regulating the digital landscape.