Apple cracks down on ChatGPT-like apps in China App Store 

Anne Freer | August 3, 2023

App Business

Apple has now responded to new regulations in China by taking measures against ChatGPT-style apps. An update by the South China Morning Post indicates that more than 100 apps providing similar services have been removed from the Chinese App Store in preparation for upcoming changes in the country’s rules.

Why is Apple removing ChatGPT-style apps?

This move is part of a crackdown intended to promote healthy content and ensure adherence to “core socialist values.”

Several apps in this category have been taken down by Apple. The reason stated in the notifications sent to the affected developers was that the apps included content that is considered illegal in China.

According to data from Chinese online data services provider Qimai, all of the apps in this category were removed from the China iOS App Store. Among them was Spark, an app developed by iFlyTek, which offered ChatGPT-type services and had garnered significant attention since its launch on June 29.

Additionally, ChatGAi Plus, a popular app that provided chatbot, AI translation, and writing services, was ranked 9th on the China iOS App Store’s paid app chart before being taken down on Tuesday afternoon, as recorded by Qimai.

In the wake of new regulations

The removal comes ahead of several new regulations in the China App Store, which were introduced collaboratively by seven Chinese regulators, including the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) and China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

The rules are scheduled to be enforced on August 15 and apply to all generative AI content services, such as text, pictures, audio, and video.

To comply with these regulations, companies offering generative AI products to the public must prioritise promoting healthy content and refrain from generating false information or content that poses a threat to national security.

Apple regularly removes apps from the App Store worldwide when regulations and requirements change. In the case of China, such actions are more frequent compared to other markets.

While China has been granting new licenses, and the number of game approvals in 2023 is expected to surpass those of the previous two years, Apple has taken its own precautions in recent years due to Chinese game approval regulations.

Key takeaways

  • Apple responds to China regulations by cracking down on ChatGPT apps, removing 100+ from the App Store.
  • Crackdown ensures healthy content, and upholds socialist values
  • Generative AI services are affected and regulations apply to text, audio, video
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