Apple launched search ads in the U.S. about five years ago. This week the company launched search ads in mainland China.
App Store Search Ads in China is currently only available for Search results ads and is not available for Search Tab ads, as first reported by the blog AppInChina.
Strict advertising rules limit what advertisers can promote in China.
Apple requires developers to upload documents for approval before being allowed to bid on keywords on the Apple Search Ads platform.
For example, after selecting “Search Results” ads and clicking “Continue” the Search Ads Console displays a message that “To advertise in mainland China, you must upload required documents to Apple Search Ads.” The process also asks whether the selected app is operated by a company business.
AppInChina estimates that most licenses are granted to companies that are 100% Chinese-owned. There are exceptions for joint ventures where Chinese companies control more than 50%.
Notably, Apple Search Ads for Mainland China does not accept payments in Chinese Yuan, but instead provides several currency options including U.S. dollars, Euros, and Japanese Yen. The only payment methods accepted, including for Search Ads accounts opened under domestic Chinese entities, are Visa, MasterCard, and American Express credit cards.
Apple expanded the Search Ads program in May to include ad placement on the home page of the Search tab in the App Store. Users previously had to query a topic or app before it would serve a sponsored ad.