Note from Shlomo: This post was written based on talks with clients of AppInChina. The distribution process of the apps is pretty clear but I discovered there are more things around it that people are not aware of.
China is the new promised land! It’s where a lot of the money these days is and a place people don’t stop to talk about as the current place to be.
Big numbers obviously
I can go on and on about how big the Chinese online market is, but let’s look at some facts:
Mobile market numbers are huge as well. Current world smartphone market has 1.5B Devices (900M devices for android , 700M devices for iPhone ). About a third of that market, 500M smartphones, is in China only which among them 340M are Android devices.
What’s more important to understand is how this market is built and understand its complexity. For example, Many of the clients I talk with have no idea that China has more than 200 Android stores. Each store operates in a different way, has different marketing options and has different requirements for uploading an App to their platform.
To Google Play or not Google Play?
If you are a developer or a company wish to be at that market you might tell yourself:
“Fine! it’s 200 stores, but Google play also covers China. So, it’s probably still a vast number of devices I’ll be covering when uploading my mobile app there”.
WRONG! Google doesn’t have a great track record in China, its search engine no longer operates in China since 2010 and the store is not doing so well either. Google play is a minor player among the Android markets and it’s not currently even one of the 20 largest Android stores.
3 key questions to ask yourself about the Chinese App market
There are some questions you should ask yourself before tapping into the Chinese market. It will help you decide what kind of Apps fit this market and how to prepare your app, so you can upload it to a Chinese store properly.
Here is what you should consider
1. Is your app and the related materials translated into Chinese?
Chinese people are very language sensitive. Also, the further you go from the 1st tier cities it becomes more and more prominent. The largest growth of smartphone users is in the smaller cities, so this is something to be aware of.
You need to have your app description, menus, content, audio, interface etc. translated to Chinese. If not, your app has significantly smaller chances of succeeding in the Chinese market.
2. What is the business model of your app? If it free? In-app purchase? Paid?
It’s very hard to sell software in China, paying upfront for downloading an App is very uncommon and rarely done, you might want to consider other more successful models for your business.
The models which work best in China are either Advertising or in-app-purchase. If you do have a paid app, no worries, just make a free version of it with advertising or split it to have in-app-purchase in it.
3. Do you want to open your own account in each store or actually prefer to be published under a service provider account in each store?
This is a personal choice and depends on the branding you’d like to do for your app. Having your own branding is great, but it’s a slower approval processes. While if you just want to go on the market ASAP, the latter is a better choice.
The Chinese market is a huge opportunity for mobile developers and needs to be approached the right way. I’ve heard of startup entrepreneurs that have significant traffic from China without event bothering to market in China, on most cases it’s not the case but it shows what the potential can be because of the large amount of users.
I developed AppInChina to help foreign developers and companies distribute their apps in the Chinese market. I realized that these are some of the concerns the clients have through their questions for me and our conversations. Of course, each client is different, but on general there are a couple of concerns that are combined to almost everybody.
Now over to you
I’m interested to know if you had any unexpected traffic from China? If that was significant, what you then did? If you didn’t what were the reasons? share your thoughts in the comments.
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