Apple removes Generative AI services from China’s App Store in anticipation of new regulations

Several generative AI apps were taken down from Apple’s China App Store, preempting the implementation of the country’s new generative AI regulations on August 15.

Apple removed OpenCat, a native ChatGPT client, after Chinese developers received notices about their apps being taken down. The reason cited by Apple was “content that is illegal in China.” This decision aligns with China’s regulations announced in July, which mandate AI apps operating in the country to obtain an administrative license.

Apple informed OpenCat that due to tightening regulations on deep synthesis technologies (DST) and generative AI services, including ChatGPT, it lacks the necessary permits to operate in China. This comes after the removal of over 100 AI apps from the China App Store, as China has been at the forefront of regulating generative AI to address concerns about its unpredictable and black-box nature.

The Chinese government’s move towards licensing requirements for generative AI is similar to what they have done with other internet areas like video games. This new regulatory environment may deter many developers, especially independent ones, from entering the market, potentially leaving it to well-funded internet giants capable of navigating compliance requirements.

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