Apple begins requiring apps show Chinese Communist Party license before China App Store inclusion

Apple has begun requiring new apps to show proof of a Chinese Communist Party license before including the apps on its China App Store.

Apple App Store in China

Josh Ye for Reuters:

Apple began last Friday requiring app developers to submit the “internet content provider (ICP) filing” when they publish new apps on its App Store, it said on its website for developers.

An ICP filing is a longtime registration system, required for websites to operate legally in China, and most local app stores including those operated by Tencent and Huawei have adopted it since at least 2017.

To get an ICP filing license, developers need to have a company in China or work with a local publisher, which has been an obstacle for a large number of foreign apps.

The decision by Apple comes after China further tightened its oversight over mobile apps in August by releasing a new rule requiring all app stores and app developers to submit an “app filing” containing business details with the regulators.

Apple’s compliance status could affect the accessibility of hundreds of thousands of apps on its App Store in China, including popular foreign apps like X, formerly known as Twitter, and Telegram, which became popular during protests against COVID-19 lockdowns last year.

MacDailyNews Take: As Potter Stewart said so well, “Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself.”

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  1. The unprecedented wealth and prosperity that marks ourcentury is a double edged sword. No can deny the creaturely comforts and temporal blessings modern wealth has provided for people at every economic level. This is something to be thankful for. And yet, it comes with a price. The price is that wealth and prosperity become an end in itself rather than a means to an end. 

    The fear of loosing China’s massive market produces economic genuflecting to Xi and his despotic ways. Rather than refusing China’s despotism for the holy grail of profits, large companies just role over like a dog wanting its belly rubbed.

    China’s economy needs companies like Apple to survive. If those companies gave a collective middle finger to China saying, “allow freedom in how we conduct business and economic freedom for our customers, or we will gladly take the financial hit and take our business elsewhere.” Sadly they can’t or won’t because wealth and prosperity for the company is now their greatest good.

    1. It’s not just Apple. See LIV golf tour, or the World Cup being played in Qatar. In December. Various sports clubs being owned by tyrannical nation states. The NFL’s love affair with gambling websites. Same issue. Money is the ultimate god. Beliefs aren’t really “beliefs” unless you’re willing to stick to them in the face of at least a little hardship. 

  2. “Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself.” This translates clearly to China, but factions in the US calling for “mis-info” boards and regulators emerges from the same impulse. What’s more concerning, many citizens agree.

    1. IMO the big difference between the situation for China vs the USA is the the former is a preemptive action whereas the latter is a reaction to having mis-info run rampant. Yes, both control information but for different impulses. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if people took a bit of time to actually study the topic or at least make their statements to indicate they are not sure and are willing to hear rebuttals to take into consideration and not dismiss offhand. Citing sources also helps.

    1. I’d say possible but a lot more work by the ‘Authorities’ to get every distribution source to comply. One more reason a single source distribution may not be such a great idea in situations like this. Probably the only way for Apple to seriously consider allowing other iOS app stores is to see their device sales collapse in large markets like China that make censorship related demands.

      1. Thumb drives, portable drives, email, source code, VPN, Tor, and many other methods available. It would be a Herculean undertaking to stop any given application.

        With Apple, stopping a “Steve Sucks” app is in the cradle.

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