Apple tells Chinese game developers that they need government approval

App Store on iPad
App Store on iPad (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Games sold in the Chinese App Store must be approved.
  • Apple has emailed developers asking for their approval number.
  • It didn't say what would happen if they didn't.

Developers who sell games – or offer games with in-app purchases – in China must provide Apple with proof that the Chinese government has approved them. That's after Apple started emailing developers to request their "approval number".

2016 regulation means that games must be approved by the General Administration of Press and Publication of China, with the outfit checking for things like profanity and violence. If a game fails its checks, it can't be offered up. And now it appears that Apple is beginning to enforce that according to reports by AppInChina and Cult of Mac.

Chinese law requires games to secure an approval number from the General Administration of Press and Publication of China. Accordingly, please provide this number to us by June 30, 2020 for any paid games or games offering in-app purchases that you intend to distribute in China mainland. You can enter your game's approval number and date below. To learn more, view the full text of the regulation. If you have questions, contact us.

Apple doesn't say what will happen if developers don't comply, although it's likely the games will be removed from the Chinese App Store in order to comply with local laws.

Attention is already very much on Apple and its relationship with China. But it has little choice in this instance, with Chinese laws being exactly that. Laws.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.