Assassin’s Creed Identity among 46,000 applications deleted in China

Assassin’s Creed Identity and NBA 2K20 were among the 46,000 iOS apps removed from the App Store in China, as Apple purged all remaining apps without a government license.

The vast majority of removed apps were games, with just 74 of the 1,500 top paid games surviving the showdown …

Context

A Chinese law requiring developers to obtain a government license to publish apps was introduced in 2016. Foreign developers in particular subsequently said it was extremely difficult to obtain a license.

Apple and Android app stores then started to comply with the law, but Apple did so in a very casual manner, which made it trivial for unlicensed apps to stay in the store.

Following the regulatory change that year, Apple began asking games for proof of government licensing – but it didn’t go out of its way to enforce the policy. Local media reported that developers could make do with fabricated ISBNs or get around the rule by first posting to an overseas iOS App Store and later moving to China. Apple was also allowing games in the App Store pending licensing.

It wasn’t until the summer of this year that Apple started removing non-compliant apps. It has been suggested that money was the reason for the initial low-key response.

China accounted for about a fifth of the $ 61 billion in digital goods and services sold through Apple’s App Store in 2019, making it the largest market after the United States, the analyst group estimates. Apple takes a 30% cut from the majority of these transactions.

Apple gave developers until the end of July to provide a valid license number, removing some 30,000 apps on August 1. There were tens of thousands more left, however, with Apple setting a new deadline of December 31.

Assassin’s Creed Identity among 46,000 deletions

Business intern reports that Apple has now removed 46,000 other apps.

Apple on Thursday removed 46,000 apps from its Chinese store, most of which were gaming apps […] Including the 39,000 games, Apple removed more than 46,000 total apps from its store on Thursday. Games affected by the sweep included the Ubisoft title Assassin’s Creed Identity and NBA 2K20, according to research firm Qimai.

The Chinese government has also demanded the removal of certain licensed applications, including Trip Advisor.

The Tripadvisor app was taken from the Apple App Store, along with 104 other apps. The Chinese government has said this is part of an Internet “cleanup” – although it was probably done for political reasons.

No reason was given, but I expressed my own theory at the time.

Tripadvisor or user reviews may separately reference Taiwan, Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau. The Chinese government insists that everyone is part of China. In 2018, the Marriott hotel app and website were blocked for this reason.

I also noted that while Apple has been criticized for removing apps at the behest of the Chinese government, it has no choice but to comply with local laws.

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