HONG KONG: China’s cyberspace regulator released on Wednesday names of the first batch of mobile app stores that have completed filing business details to regulators, signalling it has begun to enforce new rules that expand its oversight of mobile apps.

A total of 26 app stores operated by companies including Tencent, Huawei, Ant Group, Baidu, Xiaomi and Samsung have submitted filings to the authority, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). Apple’s App Store is not among the app stores on the list.

Apple did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

Beijing has been expanding oversight of smartphone and mobile app usage over the past several years.

The country now requires mobile app stores and mobile apps to submit business details to the government.

These rules are causing consternation in the industry that publishing apps in the world’s second largest economy will become very difficult and many apps may need to be taken down.

Beijing’s push to tighten scrutiny over apps came into focus when in June last year the CAC issued a new rule requiring app stores to submit business details and said it would hold app stores accountable if apps contain illegal content.

In August this year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology published another notice requiring mobile apps to complete filing by the end of March.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that app stores operated by companies including Tencent and Huawei have started demanding apps on their app stores comply with the new rules.

Apple has not disclosed how its app store in China will comply with Beijing’s new rules.

Experts said Apple’s compliance could lead to tens of thousands of apps being removed from Apple’s App Store in China.


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