106 mobile apps shut down due to continued violations
Published: Dec 10, 2021 02:50 AM
Douban app photo:VCG

Douban app photo:VCG

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and some local regulators have announced the shutdown of 106 mobile apps including the popular media review platform Douban and electronic product recycling service provider Aihuishou, as part of a clampdown targeting mobile apps involved in illegal activities.

Industry analysts said that the closure is within expectations and demonstrates the government's seriousness in handling illegal content in order to protect the interests of users.

After the announcement of the shutdown, app stores must immediately organize the removal of the apps on the list, and those apps guilty of serious violations and refusal to rectify will receive administrative penalties in accordance with the law, the MIIT said in its report on Thursday.

Since the beginning of this year, the MIIT has continued to promote special rectification actions for apps infringing users' rights and interests, and has intensified regular inspections. 

On November 3, the authorities conducted an inspection into violations by apps such as frequent requests for permission and collecting users' personal information.

However, even with repeated official warnings, some apps have still not rectified their activities as required, according to the ministry.

The latest closing price of ATRenew, the NASDAQ-listed parent company of Aihuishou is $6.4, down 66 percent from the high point since its listing in June this year, according to media reports.

This came just over a week after the Cyberspace Administration of China summoned Douban for a meeting on December 1. The review site was ordered to immediately rectify and deal with a serious situation after it repeatedly failed to conduct proper scrutiny over its content.

A financial punishment of 1.5 million yuan ($235,000) was also handed down to the company by Beijing's cyberspace administration.

"The apps have repeatedly failed to abide by the rules, and a shutdown is the ultimate outcome for them. All I can say is that it serves them right," Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based independent analyst, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Internet service providers cannot ignore proper content management and regulation and should not focus merely on more traffic flow, the expert said.

The latest measure should help with the "purification of the industry's network environment," Liu said.