The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) is ordering all mobile app stores to register with the government immediately in order to “promote the healthy and orderly development of the mobile internet.” Android smartphones dominate in the country, but because Google Play is not available in China, users are forced to use third-party app stores. Those third-party app stores are notorious for spreading malware-infected apps.
Some observers say that the Chinese may have reasons besides security concerns for setting up the registry. Some app stores also distribute apps that allow Chinese residents to get news not controlled by the country’s communist government.
No matter the reason for the registry, it could impact mobile development firms’ ability to distribute apps within China.