App Store Search Ads started in 2016, right around the time that Apple announced a financial target to double Services revenue by 2020 (it would go on to easily beat that goal). At the time, Search Ads were sold only in the United States. Apple would quickly expand the ad service internationally.
More than five years on, the company is now releasing App Store Search Ads in China, as first reported by blog AppInChina.
Obviously, China’s scale makes it a huge market. However, strict Chinese advertising rules limit exactly what can be promoted. In fact, developers will need to upload special documents and get explicit approval before being allowed to bid for keywords on the Apple Search Ads platform. This complexity is probably why it took Apple so long to launch Search Ads in China at all.
China is similarly restrictive on what apps can be listed on the