The Baidu App Store recently changed their policies to require all apps submitted to their app store in China to have an ICP Filing.
ICP stands for Internet Content Provider, and is a type of permit giving its bearer the ability to operate informational and commercial websites and commercial services on the internet in the country. ICP Licenses and ICP Filings are issued by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology at the provincial level.
There are two types of ICP permits. The ICP Filing (ICP备案, Beian or Recordal) is the standard license for purely informational content, while the ICP License (ICP Commercial or ICP Recordal) generally applies to e-commerce sites selling goods or services, as well as games or apps that collect in-app payments (but not in all circumstances).
Note that only a Chinese-owned business with a Chinese business license can get an ICP License, so foreign/overseas publishers must work with a domestic partner to acquire one. For more information on ICP Filing and the steps required, see our page below.
Link: All About ICP Licenses
Baidu’s posted qualification requirements for developers lists 48 different types of apps under 20 categories. All now state an ICP Filing as a requirement for all apps on Baidu’s Chinese app store. It is unclear which ICP type might be needed for each type of app or game.
As Chinese government regulations generally only require ICP Licenses for specific types of mobile apps or games, it is unknown why Baidu made this move. It is possible that other stores will follow suit in the future.
Baidu is currently the 7th most popular app store in China, with an 8% market share and more than 86 million monthly active users (MAU). Being one of the most popular stores in China, and supported by a major, long-standing Chinese company, we still recommend our clients publish their Android app to the Baidu app store as part of their overall China distribution strategy.
If you are an app publisher or developer who needs assistance getting an ICP License or ICP Filing, AppInChina can help. Contact our international, English-speaking team today.