A couple of years ago, China’s app economy, was, to put it mildly, floundering. Piracy was rampant, there were more Android app stores than you could shake a very large stick at and many of them were filled with malicious or fraudulent apps. Potential earnings were low and most Chinese app developers were looking to get out of their market and into the US one.
Things have changed somewhat since then.
It’s not really a secret that China’s economy is something of a powerhouse. In a world where the US is teetering on the edge of the fiscal cliff and the UK is sliding, claws out, down the financial slope to a triple-dip recession, China are seeing year on year growth. And nowhere is this more obvious than in their app market.
Like a radioactive mutant, it’s growing, really, really quickly.
Well let this graph show you:
Just a quick breakdown of those numbers above here.
In 2010, the top grossing app was earning $500k a month. In 2011 that had more than doubled to $1.7 million a month. In 2012 ten titles were earning $1.5 million a month. And in 2013, the Market value of the entire industry was clocked at $1.2 Billion dollars, with 3 titles earning $4.5 million a month in the first quarter. That’s a growth of 100% each quarter, every quarter.
As the market has grown there have also been steps to reduce the numbers of the 200 or more app stores that were once available. There have also been moves by the major carriers in China to provide better, more secure payment methods to app customers, making them more likely to buy and keep buying apps. Oh and that market growth? Yeah it’s pushed the Chinese market to become larger than the much more well established US one.
As with the western market, it’s Mobile Games that are earning the most money, with an estimated $1.3 Billion to be pulled in by that sector of the app market alone in the remainder of 2013.
So what does this mean as a Western app developer who wants to get into the Chinese market?
Well there are multiple companies in China now that are looking to act as ambassadors to Western developers, what they call “co-production”. One of these companies, Yodo1, will have direct access to your app’s code, and will put your app through a “localisation” process where they will change and add graphics and music to make the app more palatable for Chinese users. Yodo1 claim that they took the game Ski Safari, localised it and were able to attract 1.2 million users on the game within a month.
If those numbers sound like yout kind of thing, then it could very well be worth looking at making a stab at the Eastern market.