It turns out that the number of smartphone apps in China has decreased by nearly 40% in just three years

China has tightened its crackdown on technology companies and Internet content in recent years, and China's digital market has been hit hard. The South China Morning Post (SCMP), an English-language newspaper in Hong Kong, reports that the number of apps available to Chinese smartphone users has dropped by 38.5% in three years.

China's Big Tech crackdown: number of apps falls 40 per cent over 3 years amid new data laws and clean-up campaigns | South China Morning Post

According to SCMP, the total number of apps registered in the Chinese app store decreased from 4.52 million at the end of 2018 to 2.78 million in October 2021. Leong Sun Kyan, an analyst at investment research firm Equal Ocean, said, 'China's online services market with 1 billion users is already cultivated. China's Internet industry has been developing for many years. The era of tremendous growth is over, 'he said, saying that the decline in the total number of apps is the maturity of the Chinese digital market.

But SCMP argues that the decline in Chinese apps does not indicate the maturity of the Chinese digital market. The reason is that the total number of apps is increasing on both Google Play and Apple's App Store. In Google Play, Google's policy removed about 1 million apps from 2018 to 2021, but the total number of apps in 2021 was 2.8 million, an increase of 7.6% compared to 2018. The digital market as a whole is on a growth trend, and it is unnatural that only the Chinese market is maturing and shrinking.

SCMP believes that the background is the tightening of app regulations by the Chinese government. In China, the government launched a campaign to crack down on the illegal collection of personal information in January 2019, and as a result, 850,000 available apps have been deleted. In addition, 220,000 apps were deleted in 2020, and 670,000 apps were deleted from December 2020 to October 2021.

In particular, most smartphone apps in China are game apps, and a quarter of all are games. In the App Store, the number of game apps, which was less than 820,000 in December 2018, has increased to more than 1 million as of December 2021, and the number of game apps is increasing worldwide. However, Chinese regulators have not approved new game apps since July 2021, and as of December 2019, there were 909,000 game apps for the domestic market in 2021. It seems that the number has decreased to 679,000 in October of the year.

China's online game approval process slows down, game company stock prices plummet-GIGAZINE

The enforcement of the 'Limit online game play to 3 hours per week' rule for minors has also had a major impact.

A rule that 'prohibits online games more than 3 hours a week' has appeared, games are allowed only 1 hour a day x 3 days --GIGAZINE

In China, the collection of personal data without consent, the request of excessive permission to the device from users, the sharing of data to unauthorized third parties, etc. are regarded as problems, and the Chinese government regulates data and personal information. It is expected that it will become more difficult. In fact, the Data Security Law was enforced in September 2021 and the Personal Information Protection Law was enforced in November, and the regulations regarding the eyes of monitoring smartphone apps and personal information are becoming more and more strict. In November 2021, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology requested Tencent, China's largest technology company, to stop upgrading or releasing apps without prior approval. This means that you can no longer release or upgrade apps without government permission.

Government agencies other than the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology also regulate smartphone apps. For example, when Didi Chuxing, a ride-hailing and food delivery service provider, forced an initial public offering in New York in July 2021, China's Cyberspace Administration said, 'Strictly comply with the requirements of the competent authority. I ordered the app store to 'remove all dozens of Didi Chuxing apps' as 'remove it from the store for correction'. In the form of succumbing to this 'retaliation', Didi Chuxing is in the process of delisting in December 2021.

Focus: Didi's delisting in the US, Chinese IPOs getting colder | Reuters

In response to stricter regulations on apps, Tencent is changing to providing mini-programs that run within apps such as WeChat instead of apps. By the end of 2020, 3.8 million mini-programs for WeChat have already been offered. Not only does the mini program have simple functions and low development costs, but it also has excellent compatibility because it does not need to be developed separately for Android and iOS because it runs on the application. From this, SCMP states that tightening regulations on apps will be one of the factors that will significantly change the digital market in China.

in Mobile,   Software, Posted by log1i_yk