Apple takes down more than 100 ChatGPT-like apps from China’s App Store

Apple Removes Over 100 ChatGPT-like Apps from China's App Store

Apple has taken down more than one hundred generative AI apps, including ChatGPT-style services, from its China App Store. The removal was carried out in response to orders from the Chinese government, which deemed the content provided by these apps to be illegal in the country.

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The move comes ahead of the implementation of China’s artificial intelligence regulations, which are set to take effect in two weeks. These regulations require AI developers to adhere to “core socialist values” and prohibit content that questions state power. The apps removed were found to be in violation of these new guidelines.

Among the apps taken down were popular offerings powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT and domestic-grown iFlyTek’s AI chatbot SparkDesk. The removals have raised concerns among AI developers, who aim to provide AI tools for Chinese users while ensuring compliance with the country’s regulations.

A source close to Chinese regulators stated that the reason for removing these apps is that they are not standardized enough in terms of data collection and usage, which led to concerns over their compliance with the new regulations.

Furthermore, Apple’s notice to the developers indicated that the Chinese government has tightened regulations over deep synthesis technologies and generative AI. It appears that some of the apps, including OpenCat, were not able to secure the necessary licenses from the Ministry of Industry and Information, contributing to their removal from the App Store.

Critics have raised concerns about these new regulations impacting freedom of speech and access to information in China. The guidelines may potentially be used by the Chinese government to censor and control information flow, similar to their handling of other internet restrictions in the country.

Apple’s move is part of a broader effort by the Chinese authorities to regulate AI technologies in the country. The Cyberspace Administration of China recently released guidelines requiring AI developers to undergo security reviews and register their algorithms with government regulators, with the aim of preventing AI models that could pose risks to state power and national security.

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The removal of these AI apps marks a significant step in the Chinese government’s efforts to control the AI industry and promote the development of domestic AI models. While the regulations may hinder access to certain AI technologies, they also present an opportunity for Chinese developers to catch up and compete on a global scale while maintaining control over the content served to consumers.