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Last Friday, Apple started informing app developers offering their creations in China that it would officially require the submission of “internet content provider (ICP) filing” when they publish their applications on the App Store China.
The move follows Apple’s delayed response to the policy. To recall, China published last week the list of the first batch of platforms already complying with the law, but Apple’s name was not included. It was then reported that the company had been in talks with the country’s authorities, only to be told that it must implement the policy.
Now, Reuters reports that new apps will now be required to present their Chinese government license before they are officially released to the App Store China. Developers must submit their ICP as soon as they publish their new apps. It is a form of a registration system that the Chinese government requires for a website to officially operate in its market.
The new law gives the Chinese government more control over the tech sector by requiring developers to file business details with the government in hopes of discouraging online fraud, pornography, and other content against the country’s regulations. This will push the developers to be a part of a local company in China or work with one. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which formed a task force to enforce the new law, said that apps that fail to observe the new rules will face consequences once the grace period ends.
The apps in the App Store are expected to feel the biggest impact of the change since Apple has been lenient in its requirements for apps in the past years. This has allowed Western apps to penetrate the Chinese markets without issues, but the new policy will bring a significant change to every developer.
As expected, the policy will also cover the apps currently banned in China, like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp. Given that the companies that own them are all unlikely to comply with China’s policies (which push them to comply with its data transfer and censorship rules), Apple will certainly have to stop offering them on App Store China soon, or it will have to face legal sanctions.