Apple will remove thousands of games from the Chinese App Store as it finally starts to comply with a law which came into force in 2016. At least a third of all games in the store might be removed, it is believed.
The law requires developers to obtain a license in order to publish an app in China. Although when apps are submitted for review, Apple has asked for the license number, it has turned a blind eye to the loopholes used by major publishers and indies alike.
Workarounds were so common that it was somewhat unclear how Plague Inc was ruled illegal back in March, and it was only when people started to look into it that it was discovered that the game – like thousands more in Apple’s Chinese App Store – had no licensing.
The Cupertino corporation wrote back in February to developers asking them to comply with the law by the end of June but it is only now that Apple has announced that it will remove unlicensed apps.
Google’s Play store has been completely implementing the law since 2016, and Bloomberg says it’s unclear why Apple hasn’t until now done the same. The obvious answer here would be Money.
Apple has long had an uneasy relationship with China, as both its largest center of production and its second-largest market. The effect of the coronavirus epidemic highlighted the country’s reliance on the iPhone maker. The company is also facing growing antitrust criticism over its fees and policies on the App Store.