A new report indicates Apple continues to bow to its Chinese overlords in 2020, as the Chinese government ordered the Cupertino firm to remove nearly 100,000 games from its App Store in the country in 2020.
While The Wall Street Journal reported the 100,000 number, other reports indicate the number of removed apps could be as high as 140,000.
Apple Inc. is booting thousands of videogame apps from its platform in China as the government clamps down harder on such content, illustrating the tech giant’s vulnerability to state pressure on its business.
The iPhone maker this month warned Chinese developers that a new wave of paid gaming apps are at risk of removal from its app store, according to a memo viewed by The Wall Street Journal, after the company removed thousands of such apps earlier this year.
AppInChina on December 7 published the memo, which tells developers:
As you may know, Chinese law requires games to obtain an approval number from China’s National Press and Publication Administration. In order to keep your paid game or game with in-app purchases available on the App Store in China mainland, enter your approval number and supporting documentation in the App Information section of your game’s page in App Store Connect and submit an update to App Review by December 31. After December 31, your game will no longer be available on the App Store in China mainland until an approval number is provided with your next submission.
AppInChina’s tracking report suggests the number of removed apps is higher than the nearly 100,000 figure in the WSJ report, saying the number is more like 140,000 and counting, as the WSJ number doesn’t include December’s figures.
August saw nearly 40,000 games removed in a single month, including 26,000 games that were removed in a single day.
Games in China are required by law to obtain an approval number from China’s National Press and Publication Administration. While waiting for the approval Apple was allowing developers to submit and publish their apps while their application for this number was pending. However, the Chinese government opted to crack down on Apple’s “unofficial” policy.
Foreign developers are finding it difficult to get their games published in China, which is likely the reason for the rules by the protectionist Chinese government. Figures from the administration show as few as 97 foreign games were approved for 2020.