SHANGHAI, CHINA - OCTOBER 26, 2020 - Customers lined up in the apple sto...
privacy

China’s Privacy Workaround Could Spell Trouble for Apple

ByteDance and Tencent are trying to skirt Apple’s new privacy rules.

· less than 3 min read

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We have new entrants into the chicken fight over Apple's IDFA update: China's tech giants. ByteDance and Tencent are trying to skirt Apple’s new privacy rules—without consent from users or Apple.

In the States...Apple’s update will make it (slightly) harder for brands to track you. American companies have to bend toward Apple’s rules, or fear the (Tim) Cook in the kitchen.

In China...there’s no such fear. Hence the China Advertising Association, a trade group backed by the government and which counts ByteDance and Tencent as members, is testing a tool that circumvents Apple's privacy rules for Chinese users.

Apple’s response:

“We believe strongly that users should be asked for their permission before being tracked. Apps that are found to disregard the user’s choice will be rejected,” the company told FT.

And where could that lead?

  • “You could imagine Apple being kicked out of China, in the same way Huawei wasn’t allowed in the US,” Wayne Blodwell, an ad-tech expert, told Marketing Brew. “It’s an impasse.”

Translation: If this were Peoria, Apple would just boot you from the App Store. But what plays in Peoria may not fly in China, one of Apple's most important markets, where the dynamics are very different.

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