Apple Pulls 100+ Generative AI Apps from Chinese App Store Ahead of New Rules
Apple has delisted more than 100 generative AI-related mobile apps from its Chinese App Store to comply with new regulations coming into play in a couple of weeks. China’s new rules would make content on those apps illegal, according to a message sent to Chinese app developers by Apple, setting up a test for developers looking to publish apps employing any large language models (LLMs) like those seen in the tweet screenshot above.
Chinese AI Apps
The range of apps removed by Apple cover a host of features and LLMs, including those affiliated with OpenAI and ChatGPT, as well as Chinese-built models. Some of the apps were built by independent developers working alone, but the shutdown reaches all the way to major government-funded tech firm iFlyTek and its Spark app, which only launched at the end of June. Other popular apps culled by Apple include ChatGAi Plus, a top 10 paid app in the Chinese app store, and ChatGPT client OpenCat.
China announced its new rules for generative AI last month, following its strict rules on deepfakes issued in January. A mix of regulatory agencies cobbled together the rules, which will start being enforced on Aug. 15. The rules cover both the process and the content produced with generative AI. Some of the regulations are likely to be mirrored in other countries, like prohibiting anything that endangers national security. The demand that content “adhere to core socialist values” is probably not going to be an international standard. Regardless, companies with generative AI products for the Chinese market will need an administrative license, which ChatGPT does not have. That’s been an ongoing issue since the Chinese social media platform WeChat banned ChatGPT last year.
“As you may know, the government has been tightening regulations associated with deep synthesis technologies (DST) and generative Al services, including ChatGPT. DST must fulfill permitting requirements to operate in China, including securing a license from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT),” Apple wrote to developers. “Although your app is unavailable in the China App Store, this will not change the availability of your app in any other stores you selected in App Store Connect. To offer your app in China, please seek professional advice on compliance with the Administrative Provisions on Deep Synthesis of Internet-based Information Services.”