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China Tightens Rules on Mobile Apps, Requires Developers to Partner with Local Publishers or Establish Presence in China

News on Wednesday, August 9, 2023.

New regulations have been announced by China that tighten its control over foreign and independent app developers. Developers on the App Store are now required by the government to operate from within China or partner with a local publisher. App developers must also provide their business details, including an address. These new regulations will be enforced on mobile services, including instant messaging, news information, question and answer products, forum communities and others.

It's not the first time that China is attempting to regulate its mobile app market. In 2016, the Chinese government introduced a set of regulations to control the country's rapidly growing mobile apps. In 2022, China's internet regulatory agency published updated rules for mobile applications to increase cybersecurity.

These new regulations arrive as China aims to restrict minors to a maximum of two hours per day on their mobile devices. China's internet regulatory agency stated that individuals under 18 years old should be restricted to a maximum of two hours per day on their mobile devices.

This measure is a component of China's wider attempts to exert greater control over its media and technology sectors. In January 2023, state-backed entities acquired small interests in some sections of two Alibaba subsidiaries that manage a video platform and a web browser.

Foreign app developers are likely to be significantly affected by the new regulations, as they are required to collaborate with a local publisher or establish a presence in China to maintain operations within the country.