The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has announced that all app stores operating in the country must register themselves with the agency. The move comes as the country tries to tackle high levels of malware on mobile devices. The CAC also said that the register will stifle the spread of “illegal information”.
As anyone who has ever purchased an Android phone in mainland China will know, Android devices are lacking the Google Play Store. While native companies such as Baidu, Tencent, and Xiaomi all offer their own stores, there is a slew of less reputable stores which make the spread of malware quite easy, Cheetah Mobile Security said that 1.4 million Chinese users’ devices have been hit by malware as of January 2016.
In its statement, the CAC said that in order to “promote the healthy and orderly development of the [app store industry]” it had launched the app store filing mechanism. App stores will have to register when they open, they’ll need to apply for any changes to the record, and they’ll also need to apply to cancel themselves from the register should the store cease to operate.
The move to regulate app stores in the name of a healthy internet environment comes just a few weeks after Chinese authorities issued a report and draft regulation on child-lock apps being pre-installed on devices. In addition, the proposed regulation included curfews for under-18s who would be banned from playing online games between midnight and 8 AM. The public has been invited to comment and give its feedback on the draft law via a government website.