China’s information ministry announced that the country will soon require all mobile app developers to register their businesses with the government, as the latest step Beijing has taken to control the market.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced late on Tuesday that mobile apps without correct files will be punished after the grace period, which will end in March next year, has passed.
Additionally, according to the ministry, organizations “engaged in internet information services through apps in such fields as news, publishing, education, film and television, and religion should also submit relevant documents.”
The requirement might have an impact on the accessibility of well-known social networking platforms like X, Facebook, and Instagram. These apps cannot be used in China, but Chinese citizens can still download them from app stores and use them when they are outside of China.
Rich Bishop, co-founder of app publishing firm AppInChina, said that in order to comply with the new rules, app developers now must either have a company in China or work with a local publisher.
Tens of thousands of unlicensed mobile apps and games were removed from various app stores in 2020 in China, where it is already mandatory for games to obtain licenses before they can be released there.
According to a report revealed last week, over 100 apps offering ChatGBT-like services were removed from the Chinese App Store ahead of upcoming changes in the country’s rules.
China awarded licenses to 88 new games in June after a protracted pause in 2021 that had a significant influence on its mobile market. The country’s game market surpassed $45.5 billion last year, and is expected to hit $57 billion in 2027. According to experts, the new policy could limit the number of apps and have a significant negative impact on small developers.