Reclaiming Unauthorized Copies of your App

The Problem

Are you concerned about someone pirating your software in China? Are you afraid that diving into the Chinese market will expose your IP to blatant copyright violations? Chances are that if your app is at least fairly popular on Google Play then there are already unauthorized copies of your app being published in China.

Remember that 78% of Chinese users use Android phones, and it’s relatively easy for any one of the many popular Chinese app stores (https://www.appinchina.co/market/app-stores/) to scrape Google Play for your Android app to bulk up their own offerings. At best, it could simply be an older, outdated version of your app.

However, it’s also easy for a Chinese company or individual to create a copy of your app, usually the premium version, and then submit your app to any of the major Chinese app stores. This is typically done in order to monetize your app through advertising but in other cases malicious code is inserted into your app in order to steal data or money from your app’s users.

The Solution

It’s possible to check the status of your app on each of the major Chinese app stores yourself by visiting https://www.appinchina.co/market/app-stores/, clicking on the url for each store, and searching for the English or Chinese name of your app. This method won’t be 100% accurate, for example if an unauthorized copy of your app is being published under another name, but it can still give you an initial understanding of whether your app is already being published.

If you would like a more detailed summary of whether unauthorized copies of your app are being published in China then click here to contact us and we’ll provide you with a full report.

Once you know which Chinese app stores have unauthorized copies of your app on them the next step is reclaiming. If the unauthorized copy is using the same package name as your original app then you’ll need to provide your app signature so that the store can verify that your company is the legal owner of the app.

If there’s only one unauthorized copy of your app being published and it’s using the same package name as your original app then it’s possible to solve this issue by yourself. However, the process can be very time-consuming and requires a fluent Mandarin-speaker who can communicate with each of the stores. It’s often also very difficult to connect with someone at each store who can help you to solve this issue.

If the unauthorized copy is using a different package name from your original app, however, then the process is more complex and typically involves:

  1. Applying for a Software Copyright Certificate to prove that your company is the legal owner of the app.
  2. Completing a form provided by the store.
  3. Providing a copy of your business license.
  4. Providing a screenshot of the admin dashboard for your app on Google Play or one of the other Chinese app stores.

When the reclaiming process is completed the store will inform you and the unauthorized copy will be removed from that app store. If you are publishing your app in China then your original app will replace the unauthorized copy and the download numbers, ratings and reviews of the unauthorized copy will be assigned to your app instead.

Once the reclaiming process is completed all unauthorized copies of your app will be removed from each of the major Chinese app stores. However, it’s very likely that new unauthorized copies of your app will be published on some of these stores relatively quickly, especially if your app is popular or you have a well-known brand name. It’s therefore necessary to continually monitor each of the major Chinese app stores, check for any new unauthorized versions that have been published, and submit new reclaiming requests on a regular basis.

AppInChina’s Service

AppInChina’s reclaiming service makes it easy to solve this issue and ensure that no unauthorized copies of your app are being published in China. We continually monitor the 15 largest Chinese app stores to detect any unauthorized copies and then submit requests to the stores to remove them as rapidly as possible. If you’re interested in using our service to protect your app in China then click here to contact us for more information.

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