Reuters reports that Apple has removed 29,800 apps from its Chinese app store on Saturday, including more than 26,000 games, according to data from research firm Qimai.
This comes during a crackdown on unlicensed games by Chinese authorities. Earlier this year Apple gave game publishers an end-of-June deadline to submit a government-issued license number enabling users to make in-app purchases.
China’s Android app stores have long complied with those regulations. Reuters says it’s not clear why Apple is enforcing them strictly this year.
This isn’t the first time Apple has removed apps from its China app store. In 2018, the tech giant removed gambling apps. “Gambling apps are illegal and not allowed on the App Store in China,” Apple said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal. “We have already removed many apps and developers for trying to distribute illegal gambling apps on our App Store, and we are vigilant in our efforts to find these and stop them.”A report published by CCTV said Apple removed 4,000 titles marketed with the keyword “gambling” on Aug. 9. The illegal gambling apps were purportedly being distributed under the guise of legitimate lottery apps.
And in summer 2017 Apple removed all major VPN (Virtual Private Networks) apps from its local App store, which helps users overcome the country’s “Great Firewall.” Service providers slammed the move, calling it a “dangerous precedent.”