Exploring China’s app markets

After months of coding you release your next big app on Google Play and start promoting it in every app-oriented media. Now is the time to harvest the fruits and monetize all of your development and marketing efforts. Sounds fine but is something missing from the picture?
An iOS version maybe…? No.
You are a diligent Flex/Flash developer and a version for the iOS App Store is coming along. So what is it?

And the answer is: the world’s largest smartphone market: China.

Image from freeimages.com
Roll up your sleeves and grab a pick. We are going to explore the vast app markets in China. But before anyone gets carried away by the sound of kuai pouring into our virtual piggy banks, there are some specifics to consider. First, there are some substantial differences between the Eastern and the Western markets. Then, it is crucial to pick the right tools of the trade and these might surprise you.

This is the first of a series of posts about setting foot on the Eastern markets.

Here is what to expect next:

Top China app markets: brief overview

As it turns out, there are hundreds of app stores in the People’s Republic of China and there doesn’t seem to be a clear leader. Here is a list of five of the most influential stores that could give you at least 70% market visibility*.

  1. 360 market (26% market share*): zhushou.360.cn
    It has the biggest user base and comes preinstalled on nearly 70% of the smartphones in China.

  2. Myapp (24% market share*) myapp.com
    Myapp is run by Tencent, one of the top players in China’s internet entertainment and advertising markets. They are offering many web services like social networking, the QQ instant messenger, online games, etc. and are expanding more and more into the smartphone business. Tencent are the makers of WeChat a messaging  app that helped their app store to gain more traction in the last years.

  3. Baidu Mobile Assistant (20% market share*) shouji.baidu.com
    This is a web service company providing the largest Chinese language searching engine. You can think of them as a Chinese Google if you want. If you register on their developer platform your app will benefit from appearing in Baidu’s search engine results.

  4. Google Play (13% market share*)
    Ahh, the good old Google Play…

  5. Xiaomi (12% market share*) app.xiaomi.com
    Xiaomi is currently the world’s 3rd largest smartphone distributor. Besides their smartphone and consumer electronic business they sell a great amount of mobile apps. Xiaomi’s market place is the default app store for the Xiaomi smartphone users.

*Market coverage info according to http://www.cmgm.net/2014/11/questionable-report-on-chinas-mobile-games-market-released-by-applift-and-newzoo/

Share your experience

Do you have first-hand experience with the Eastern app development culture?
Or are you researching it in order to make a move towards one or more of the Chinese app markets?

Share your experience and opinions in the comments below!

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