Tencent and Other App Stores Enforce China’s New Oversight Regulations

Mobile app stores in China, including Tencent Holdings, Xiaomi, and others, have taken steps to enforce new regulations mandated by Chinese authorities. These measures include barring app publishers from launching new apps unless they fulfill all the necessary disclosures, as revealed by documents obtained by Reuters.

Compliance with Stringent Regulations:
These actions are in line with the recently introduced rules aimed at tightening oversight of mobile apps within China. The regulations, implemented last month, have raised concerns within the industry about the increasing complexity of publishing apps in the world’s second-largest economy. There is also apprehension that many existing apps may need to be removed from the platforms.

Disclosure Requirements:
The new regulations require mobile app publishers to submit comprehensive business details to the government. App stores in China were given until the end of August to establish systems for overseeing new app submissions.

Rich Bishop, CEO of app publishing firm AppInChina, confirmed the new requirements, stating, “The Android app stores have confirmed that new apps require the app filings from Friday onwards, and existing apps must have it from March 31 onwards. It forces all global apps on these app stores to either establish a local entity or work with a local partner.”

Ongoing Scrutiny:
While the Chinese authorities have seemingly concluded their broad regulatory crackdown on the technology sector that spanned several years, the industry continues to face scrutiny. Beijing’s focus on aligning business activities with socialist ideals persists.

Actions by Leading App Stores:
In the past week, Android-based app stores operated by Tencent, Huawei Technologies, Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo have issued notices to app publishers. These notices stipulate that new apps lacking the required paperwork will not be featured on their platforms. Some of these notices have been reported by Reuters, while others have been featured in blog posts by Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo.

Apple’s Approach Unclear:
Apple has not yet disclosed how its app store in China plans to comply with the new regulations. As of Monday, it has not initiated checks on apps’ filing status, according to AppInChina.

No Immediate Comments:
Replies from the concerned parties, including Tencent, Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo, and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), were not immediately available at the time of this report.

Impact on WeChat Mini Apps:
Tencent’s WeChat, China’s leading social media platform, has extended the same filing requirement to “WeChat Mini Apps,” which are apps published directly on the WeChat platform.

Government’s Commitment:
According to Huawei’s notice, MIIT has established a dedicated task force to enforce the new policy and has scheduled talks with industry participants regarding its implementation. The notice also stipulates that app stores must clearly indicate each app’s filing status on their platforms.

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