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Apple reportedly warns devs of more app takedowns in Chinese App Store

Thousands of games and apps will be removed unless proof of an official license is provided before December 31

Apple has warned developers of the imminent removal of thousands of mobile games and apps from the Chinese App Store -- the second wave of removals this year.

The Wall Street Journal obtained an official Apple memo that was sent earlier this month, warning developers that they needed to submit proof of a Chinese government license on or before December 31, 2020.

This is the reemergence of an issue from July, when at least 15,000 games were removed from the Mainland Chinese App Store in a single month.

To avoid removal, developers and publishers needed an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) from China's National Press and Publication Administration -- a relatively slow process, which all but guarantees the failure of many companies to comply.

In a statement issued to the Wall Street Journal, Apple acknowledged that it receives requests for the removal of apps in various regions.

"Apple studies these requests carefully whenever we receive them, and we contest and disagree with them often," Apple said.

"Though the final decisions sometimes run contrary to our wishes, we believe that our customers are best served when we remain in the country providing them access to products that promote self-expression with world-class privacy protections."

The WSJ's report also cites data from Sensor Tower, which found at least 94,000 removals from China's App Store this year -- up from just 25,000 in 2019.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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