The regulations, issued by the Cyberspace Administration of China, also require app providers to enforce a real names policy for users, including by verifying their identity using mobile phone numbers or other data, the report said.
App providers also face an obligation to keep the data they hold on users secure and are prohibited from using that information without obtaining customers' consent to do so, Xinhua said.
Under the rules the companies must notify users of their rights and must be open with users if they intend to collect details of their location or about their contacts from their address book on their devices.
App providers will also be under new obligations to improve their own censorship, Xinhua reported. They will need to take action against those who illicitly disclose information, either by issuing warnings, suspending services or close customer accounts, it said. Xinhua reported that people that spread rumours online or promote extremism or terrorism can already face imprisonment.
The new regulation will also explicitly ban app developers from copying others' products, according to the news agency's report.
Hong Kong-based technology law expert Paul Haswell of Pinsent Masons, the law form behind Out-Law.com said: “Requiring the collection of internet users’ real identities is nothing new in China. The interesting part of these new regulations is the requirement for app providers to be proactive in the censoring and deletion of content deemed inappropriate. This essentially makes the providers liable for the actions of their users, and for communication and messaging apps this could prove a major headache.”