China reveals audit of 320,000 local apps, with 34 booted from app stores and hundreds of devs warned they could suffer same fate

Privacy crackdown in the land of ubiquitous surveillance, where 5G now blankets all cities


Through most of 2020 bans on Chinese apps have meant geopolitical strife, but China yesterday revealed it has started banning some of its own apps.

The nation’s State Council Information Office yesterday gave a press conference at which officials from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and its Operation Monitoring and Coordination Bureau detailed recent advances in China’s implementation and adoption of technology.

A ban on 34 apps was among the nuggets of news revealed, with their banishment from local app stores the result of a departmental trawl of 320,000 apps offered in local download-marts. The trawl found over 1,110 developers had mis-used personal information, deceived users, harassed users or displayed what online translate-o-tronic services describe as “Insufficient implementation of application distribution platform responsibilities."

The 34 banned apps refused to comply with departmental directives to fix their problems and the ministry told over 1,100 developers to rectify those apps. Of that bad bunch, 246 have been warned they’ve blown a deadline to rectify their code.

The press conference also revealed that China has installed 690,000 5G base stations, which in a complete surprise is well ahead of national targets that called for 500,000 such installations this year.

That number of base stations means that officials declared China’s prefectures and cities are now covered by 5G.

The ministry also said that 108 million 5G handsets shipped in China between January and September, and that the nation now has 160 million devices on 5G networks. Those numbers seem plausible, as the nation’s largest carrier, China Mobile, earlier this week told the Hong Kong Stock Exchange [PDF] that it has secured 114 million 5G subscribers (and has another 770 million 4G customers).

Officials also hailed the performance of China’s internet during lockdown, noting that even as traffic surged by 70 percent in the city of Wuhan local ISPs did not need to restrict access to high definition video as happened in many western nations.

Also discussed was the progress of China’s plans to enhance all industry using big data, and said those efforts have helped with post-pandemic recovery plans that have seen recent surges in industrial production and big jumps in the output of technology industries. ®


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