After launching in the US five years ago, Apple’s search engine advertising service finally hit mainland China this week.
The feature called Apple Search Ads enables developers to bid on an advertising space based on users’ keyword searches in the App Store, similar to Google search ads. JPMorgan previously estimated that the giant’s annual advertising revenue could exceed $ 11 billion by 2025, though the forecast didn’t include a breakdown for the search ad business.
Apple itself has restricted personalized advertising and allowed users to turn off data tracking through apps, a move that will inevitably shake up the business models of Facebook and others that rely on third-party data to target advertisements.
China has always been a strong market for Apple, but with the advent of local offerings like Huawei, iPhones are increasingly losing their shine as a status symbol in the country. However, in the first quarter, Apple smartphone shipments rebounded thanks to declining sales from Huawei and the launch of the iPhone 12 family. The Chinese App Store is another important source of income for Apple.
In a five-page guide, Apple describes the qualifications for developers who target advertisements to users in mainland China. There are a bunch of industry-specific licenses that advertisers must acquire, effectively excluding most overseas companies from direct mailing in mainland China, as mentioned in a blog post by AppInChina, an agency that helps international apps launch in China. In order to bid for search network advertisements in China, apps would have to find local partners with all regulatory approvals.
The prerequisites for apps that import goods to China include, for example, not only a general license to operate value-added internet shops, but also registration with the responsible trade and customs authorities. Apple could even start requiring these permits from apps that simply want to be released in China, AppInChina wrote, as Apple continues to enforce the rules set by the Chinese government, according to crackdown on game apps.