In the past few months, Apple has been clamping down aggressively on apps that were listed on the App Store in China without a valid license from the Chinese government. As per a Reuters report, the company has pulled down another batch of 39,000 games from its app repository in China, all of which were axed for not being licensed. This is reportedly the largest single-day purge of apps from the App Store.
The report adds that Apple removed a total of 46,000 in one go, and some of them were from big-name studios and developers. Among the apps that got axed in Apple’s latest swing are NBA 2K20 and Assassin’s Creed Identity by Ubisoft. Such was the severity of the action that merely 74 out of the top 1,500 games on the App Store in China were left unscathed, while the rest were pulled.
“Apple initially gave game publishers an end-of-June deadline to submit a government-issued licence number enabling users to make in-app purchases in the world’s biggest games market. Apple later extended the deadline to Dec. 31,” the report adds. Earlier this year, Apple kicked out almost 30,000 apps – most of which were games – from the App Store in China as they weren’t approved by the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA).
The deadline mentioned above had Apple telling developers that their games would be banned if they didn’t have the requisite NPPA license. Previously, Apple allowed developers to list their apps on the App Store while they waited for NPPA approval, but that is no longer the case. The Chinese government has reportedly been pushing for Apple to close this loophole for a while now.
However, the process of obtaining an NPPA license can be cumbersome for foreign developers, and in most cases, they join hands with a Chinese company as a publishing partner to clear the regulatory hurdles in order to get the government’s nod. As for Apple, China remains not only a key market, but also happens to be a hub of its manufacturing operations, which means a tussle with the Chinese government could end up hurting the Cupertino giant, especially in the wake of recent US-China tensions.