SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Apple Inc AAPL.N on Saturday removed 29,800 apps from its Chinese app store, including more than 26,000 games, according to data from research firm Qimai.
The withdrawals come as part of a crackdown on unlicensed gambling by Chinese authorities.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this year, Apple gave game publishers a late June deadline to submit a government license number that allows users to make in-app purchases.
Chinese Android app stores have long complied with these regulations. It’s unclear why Apple is strictly enforcing them this year.
The smartphone maker removed more than 2,500 titles from its App Store in the first week of July. Games affected by the sweep included titles from Zynga and Supercell, research firm SensorTower reported at the time.
The Chinese government has long sought to impose stricter regulations on its gaming industry in order to remove sensitive content.
The approval process for games seeking to enable in-app purchases is long and complicated, hurting everyone except the biggest game developers, according to industry insiders.
“This affects the income of small and medium-sized developers the most, but due to the difficulties of acquiring a commercial license, it is devastating for the entire iOS gaming industry in China,” said Todd Kuhn, Marketing Director of AppIn China, a company that helps overseas companies distribute their apps.
Reporting by Josh Horwitz and Brenda Goh in Shanghai, and Pei Li in Hong Kong; Edited by Stephen Coates