Duolingo is back in Chinese app stores after 1 year with a local touch

Duolingo, the Nasdaq-listed language learning app, is back on China’s Apple App Store and Android stores almost a year after disappearing from the country’s app stores.

Users in China noted that the Pittsburg-based app was unavailable for download last August due to the country’s sweeping education crackdown, including restrictions on for-profit after-school tutoring. At the time, Duolingo told local media that the company had “received instructions to strengthen the app’s content compliance mechanism.” The app came to China in 2019.

China has closed regulatory loopholes in apps of all kinds in recent years. Data-intensive services from video games to live streaming platforms are encouraged to implement strict content moderation to maintain a “healthy” digital environment.

While the core services of American titans like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google have long been unavailable in China, a handful of other foreign tech companies began to voluntarily discontinue or overhaul their products in the country as Beijing introduced tough new data laws that have led to rising compliance demands. Costs.

Yahoo, TechCrunch’s parent company, pulled its services entirely from China last November. LinkedIn has launched a Chinese version of its professional networking platform with limited features. Nike said this week that it would replace its running app with a localized solution for China.

Those who still see China as a potentially lucrative market are likely to stay but will work to meet the country’s changing internet policies. And often this means that the global version of their apps or services is not compatible with China’s new regulatory environment.

Duolingo is among those that continue to operate in China by tailoring their service to the country. The relaunched app is free to use, teaches 41 languages ​​and has game features, according to its official social media post this week. The most notable update is that it will start teaching Cantonese, the language spoken by people in Hong Kong and Macau, as well as a significant population of the wealthy Chinese province of Guangdong and the Chinese diaspora around the world.

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