Beijing regulators order Apple to tighten scrutiny over live-streaming apps

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 April, 2017, 8:33pm
UPDATED : Friday, 21 April, 2017, 10:49pm

Regulators in Beijing have urged Apple to tighten up scrutiny over apps available in its App Store after a recent crackdown on several live-streaming services providers.

In a joint crackdown by three local government agencies, three live-streaming websites –, and – were found to have violated regulations concerning internet information services, live-streaming services and online performances, the Beijing Cyberspace Administration said on its official WeChat account this week.

The cyberspace administration, together with the Beijing Public Security Bureau and Beijing Cultural Market Administrative Law Enforcement Team, found that some publishers broadcast live content forbidden by Chinese laws, including pornography.

Other loopholes were also found in the management of user classification, verification of user identity and dealing with tips-offs, according to the statement, which said the government regulators planned to order Apple to tighten up its checks on software offered on its App Store.

A Xinhua news report said the law enforcement team had already met with Apple representatives to examine live stream apps available on Apple’s online marketplace, without providing further details.

Chinese regulators have stepped up controls over the streaming industry in the past year by requiring sites to monitor live content and shut down accounts in breach of rules.

China’s crackdown on internet live-streaming to shake up the industry

In March, China’s Ministry of Culture (MoC) undertook wide ranging inspections of online performance service providers with the goal of cracking down on live content featuring “vulgarity”, “obscenity”, and “wrong life values”.

The inspections, which reportedly involved random selection of half of the country’s streaming site operators, followed the ministry’s earlier requirement in late 2016 that demanded all Chinese live streaming platform operators apply for a permit from relevant authorities.

China International Capital Corporation said the country’s streaming industry was worth some 10 to 15 billion yuan in 2015, and forecast the market to grow to 60 billion yuan (US$8.7 billion) by 2020.

Wang Chuanzhen, an analyst at consultancy Analysys International in Beijing, told the South China Morning Post that the regulators summoned Apple because the US company independently reviews the apps in its App Store.

“It is different from other Android app stores in China which are dominated by local companies and are subject to local internet regulations,” said Wang.

Google’s official Android app store Google Play Store remains blocked in China, and is not installed in smartphones sold in the country.