Apple’s China app store shades videogames as Beijing tightens Internet control

Apple Pal Inc. China is booting thousands of videogame applications from its platform as the government tightens its grip on such content, highlighting the state-of-the-art technology company’s weakness on its business.

The iPhone maker warned Chinese developers earlier this month that, according to a memo seen by the Wall Street Journal, the company risked removing a new wave of paid gaming apps from its App Store after removing thousands of apps earlier this year.

The Chinese government started requiring videogames to be licensed four years ago before they were released, but developers were able to skirt the requirement in Apple’s App Store. Apple Play did not say why the loopholes existed or why the company began closing them this year. Foreign software developers have lamented the change, despite the difficulty in getting approval for their games in China.

App-store paging comes as China seeks to tighten police, control and censorship on its Internet, including the removal of Tripadvisor and more than 100 other apps from the Apple Plus store in the country. The apps were outlawed by China’s Cyberspace Administration without spelling Tripadvisor or other applications, most of which belong to Chinese developers, who did. Tripadviser declined to comment.

China’s Cyberspace Administration, which controls cybersecurity, and the National Radio and Television Administration, which allows videogames, did not respond to requests for comment.