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China makes up 40% of global iOS app revenue

Grace Shao
Updated: Apr 11,2017 10:10 AM     CGTN

The app industry continues to grow, hitting $90 billion globally just in 2016. Due to China’s massive consumer base, app downloads globally were up 15 percent in 2016, with revenue figures up another 40 percent. China contributed almost one-third of global app revenue and also became the leading source of iOS App Store revenue in 2016. However, experts say the success of an app is not only defined by revenue generated, but also by user retention.

Tech data focused firm NewZoo showed in an industry report that Chinese app revenues in 2016 dialed in at around a staggering $12 billion, with 7 billion being generated by Android apps and 5 billion by iOS apps. But business intelligence firm App Annie says the iOS app share was bigger than NewZoo’s suggested figures, generating closer to half of the entire market. Dai Bin, Director of App Annie’s China Office also reminded consumers that Android apps cannot be precisely tracked due to significant number of third party app providers, Dai added that the precise figure for android app revenues is probably larger than estimated.

For decades, products made in China have been stigmatized as low quality goods when compared to their western-manufactured counterparts. But today, the world has greater expectations for what comes out of China, especially when it comes to high-tech goods. With 56 Chinese TMT firms listed on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, people around the world are becoming more aware of the influence of mega tech companies from China.

The average Chinese person uses almost 40 apps per month, slightly above the international average. But for any outsiders trying to get a piece of the pie, it might be hard.

With Tencent’s strong network of resources, Elaine Wang is able to run the country’s largest third party Android App Store that is backed up by the internet conglomerate with confidence.

She says for international apps to succeed in China they must localize their product and develop “a totally different SDK.” As of now, Chinese local apps dominate both the top downloaded and longest app usage lists.

The Chinese App market is giving us a glimpse into the future with its vast variety of products. Literally allowing us to do anything on our phones. But that isn’t to say it is easy for apps to succeed in China, the competition is at its all times high and users are seeking innovation and creativity to demonstrate their unique personality or increase their productivity by folds.

Internet users in China reached 668 million in June 2015, with 549 million of those users, almost 90 percent, accessing the internet on a mobile device. In other words, the number of internet users in China is more than twice the population of the US.

Though many successful apps are backed up by one of the BATs (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent), many are doing it all on their own. Vue, a video enhancement app that is less than a year old, has already acquired more than 10 million users worldwide, with more than one million daily users.

It has been voted a top app on the Apple app store in South Korea, China and the island of Taiwan, the co-founder says going global was not that hard as their app is universal in its usage.

International app downloads have reached 90 billion, mainly generated by the growth of downloads in China. The most popular and successful apps still remain to be in gaming, entertainment and social media sectors.