The App Store in China had its biggest single-day removal of apps ever - with a massive 39,000 games given the boot by Apple on Thursday alone. As per a research firm Qimai, some of the apps that have been affected by the sweep include NBA2K20 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's App Store captured the majority of spending between the two platforms, reaching 68.4% of total spending, or 278.6 million, a 35.2% year-on-year increase in Google Play revenue. for 129 million dollars, however, more than 33% annually.
"In order to keep your paid game or game or game with in-app purchases available on the App Store in China mainland, enter your approval number and supporting documents in the App information section of your game's page in App Store Connect and submit an update to App Review by December 31", said Apple. The Chinese government has reportedly been pushing for Apple to close this loophole for a while now. Essentially, they have to obtain a Chinese ISBN number from the government - a process that is nigh impossible unless foreign developers team up with a Chinese publisher before launch, according to Engadget. This happened as Apple is cracking down on illegal apps that can be installed on iOS. Around the same time, it also removed the Quartz news app from its China store due to the publication's coverage of the Hong Kong protests. Not only is it its second-largest market, but Apple's supply chain is also heavily reliant on Chinese factories. It is not clear why Apple is enforcing them more strictly this year. The Financial Times suggests that it could have something to do with increasing tensions with the USA and China, leading the latter to increase scrutiny in Apple.
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But civil rights campaigners have said the company needs to be more transparent about why some other apps have been removed ahead of a 31 December deadline.