This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
Apple reportedly removed more than 30,000 apps from China's App Store on August 1. According to the Chinese research firm Qimai Research Institute, games accounted for 90 percent of the deleted apps.
Most deletions took place in the early morning and late night hours of 3 a.m. to 5 a.m., according to a Bloomberg report. The peak number of deletions was at 4:15 a.m., when more than 2,000 apps were reportedly deleted.
As of Saturday night, there were about 179,000 game apps left, of which about 160,000 were reportedly free apps. Apple apparently notified game developers on July 8 that it would remove them if they didn't meet the "regulatory requirements for payment" by the end of the month. In other words, the targeted games were paid apps and games with in-app purchases, and the removal was done as announced.
This one didn't happen out of the blue, but the signs were there. In February of this year, Apple notified game developers that they had until June 30 to obtain a Chinese government license, and as of July, Apple froze updates for thousands of games that were unlicensed. In addition, TechNode (an English-language site where you can read Chinese IT news) reported that more than 3,000 games were removed between the first and second days of this month.
In China, since 2016, all paid games and games that offer in-app purchases are required to obtain a license before the app store is published. According to TechNode above, before Apple took action in February, developers could publish games by simply submitting random numbers instead of an official license number. This means that the App Store's operations have begun to follow China's regulatory rules to the letter.
But foreign companies can't apply for a license directly; they have to partner with a local company. Moreover, only about 1,500 game per year are approved in China right now, and the process takes six months to a year, so even if they can get back into the store, it will reportedly take a long time.
Some believe that the Chinese government's intentions are working against the backdrop of the heated U.S.-China trade war, as Apple has begun to strictly enforce licensing rules that have remained nominal for years. President Trump has stated his intention to ban the popular video app TikTok, which originated in China, but it seems that China may also tighten its clampdown on apps from the US.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.