As highlighted in a report from Bloomberg today, the opportunities for Apple revenue growth in one of its biggest markets, China, are unclear as the company has been unable to launch its new paid services in the region due to strict local laws concerning content availability and censorship policy.
This year, Apple put a big focus on Apple News+, Apple Arcade, and Apple TV+ launches. None of them are available in China.
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Apple says that Apple TV+ is available in more than 100 countries and Apple Arcade is in more than 150. With both of these services, Apple owns the ultimate rights to the video and games on sale. This allows them to easily launch the respective services around the world without messy legal battles over licensing.
For TV+, Apple offers audio dubs in seven languages and subtitles in more than forty. As part of the Apple Arcade contract, game developers must localize their game into 17 different languages.
However, launching content services in China is a political quagmire. Most tech companies have no presence in China at all.
In China, all game titles must be individually approved by the government. This is a significant hurdle for Apple to overcome. It’s not clear if the Arcade game library would be deemed to be appropriate or not for Chinese distribution and there have been no reports yet that Apple has pursued getting approval for its games.
TV+ faces similar roadblocks. Apple Books (nee iBooks) and iTunes Movies have not been sold in China since 2016 when the Chinese administration shut them down.
However, as Apple continues to hunt for revenue growth opportunities with new content services, it becomes ever more important for the company’s financials if it can resolve the China issue and make its services available for its large base of Chinese customers.
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