In a significant stride towards efficient management of the digital landscape, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China unveiled the “Notice of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on the Filing of Mobile Internet Applications” on August 8th (referred to as the “Notice”). This landmark directive marks a pivotal shift in handling the burgeoning realm of mobile applications.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China requires all mobile apps to have ICP filing
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China requires all mobile apps to have ICP filing

Since the year 2000, under the guidelines of the “Internet Information Service Management Measures” (State Council Order No. 292), telecommunications authorities have been entrusted with the task of overseeing registration and approval procedures, specifically the Internet Content Provider (ICP) filing, for websites engaged in offering internet information services.

With the unprecedented surge in mobile internet, applications (Apps) have evolved into vital conduits for disseminating internet information services. It is crucial to note that both Apps and websites fall within the ambit of providing these services. In alignment with the stipulations of national laws and regulations, the filing protocols mirror those of websites, encompassing real-name registration and details pertaining to network resources and services.

To streamline the app ICP filing process for app developers, the “Notice” introduces an expedited route. Once developers complete the requisite filing documents and undergo identity verification, their network access service provider or application distribution platform will facilitate the submission of online filing applications via the “National Internet Basic Resource Management System,” herein referred to as the filing system. This digital gateway eliminates the need for developers to queue up at Communications Administration windows for processing.

In an effort to alleviate the administrative burden on developers and curtail redundant data entry, the app filing procedure leverages existing website filing information. For companies who have previously completed website filing procedures, redundant identity information need not be provided again. Instead, they are only required to supplement pertinent app-related details.

Taking into holistic consideration the operational landscape encompassing app developers, network access service providers, app distribution platforms, and manufacturers of smart terminals, the “Notice” introduces a 10-month transition period for app filing.

Commencing from September 2023 through the conclusion of March 2024, Apps that were operational prior to the issuance of the “Notice” must engage in filing procedures with their respective provincial communications administration. Subsequently, from April 2024 until the end of June 2024, telecommunications authorities will conduct rigorous supervision and assessment of app filing status, and non-compliant Apps will be subjected to legal consequences.

For Apps planning to embark on business ventures subsequent to the issuance of the “Notice,” filing procedures must be satisfactorily concluded before commencing operations.

Further cementing these developments, the “Notice” unequivocally asserts that network access service providers, application distribution platforms, and manufacturers of smart terminals are prohibited from extending services such as network access, distribution, and pre-installation to Apps that have not successfully concluded the mandated filing procedures.

If you are considering entering China, you can also choose to work with an experienced local third-party service provider such as 21YunBox to ensure your compliance. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help your business succeed in China.

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