Many mobile app developers ask me these questions about Chinese app store market:
- How does Apple compare to Android in Chinese app store market?
- Which Chinese app store should a western app developer go first?
- How to tackle the piracy and local payment issues in Chinese app store?
… the list can go on and on.
For the benefit of every app developer, I thought it is good to do a comparison here.
Let’s dive into it…
1. The Chinese App Store Market
Android — Fragmented Market
In China, Google Play is mostly not yet accessible. The whole Android market is fragmented into hundreds of small app markets. Managing updates and promotions is tedious.
Apple — Single Largest Market
Apple App Store is the single largest app market in China. Its revenue is US$2.3Bn, or 35%, out of the total US$6.5Bn (Newzoo, 2015). And 29% smart devices in China are iPhone/iPad (TalkingData, 2016). It takes many Android app markets to beat one Apple app store.
2. Payment Integration
Android — Complex Payment Systems
You have to include Alipay, Tenpay, Weibo Payment, and Union Pay to cover more than half of your users. To make the situation worse, the set of supported payment systems you need to put in place varies across different app markets.
Apple — No Third-Party Payment
Apple does not allow third-party payment system, so you just need to stick with the same code.
Android — Uncontrolled Piracy
Banning clone is rarely done properly in China. If your apps are good, rest assured many Chinese developers will find the ways to copy your apps. They will then publish the clones in China and claim theirs are original.
Apple — Respect Intellectual Properties
Apple has been active in banning clones.
4. Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)
Android — Lower ARPU
US$0.7–0.9 for freemium games
Apple — Higher ARPU
US$1.2–1.5 for freemium games
Is it really that hard to win in Chinese Android markets?
Okay, let me tell you a story…
Clash of Clans failed to make a single penny when it first launched its Android version in China.
The game was downloaded 200,000 times in its first month. It had total downloads exceeding one million in the initial period. But it didn’t create any revenue. It is because the game was using Google Play payment system, which is inaccessible in China.
It is a no-brainer that Apple App Store is the better route to go. You can find many successful western apps in the App Store, but successful western Android apps in China are rare.
So if you have an iOS app, good for you! You are almost ready to go China!
If you are interested in knowing more details, feel free to leave a comment below.
P.S. Wanna ride on the big wave of the Chinese mobile market?
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Marcus is a tech entrepreneur & a father of 3 daughters.
He is the founder of Meatti, which helps mobile app developers increase app downloads using artificial intelligence.