With a population of over 1.4 billion, China sits as the second-largest economy in the world. One of the reasons behind this feat is the geometric rise in the use of smartphones with over 850 million users. Due to the massive production of smartphones, the usage of mobile apps has increased. Hence, making China the largest and most yielding mobile app market in the world. 

According to Statista, over 60% of people in China are connected to the internet. It also implies that this country is contributing more than one-fifth of the internet users in the world. However, it is essential to know that the Google Play Store is not available in the China app market. Hence, making their android app developers look into their homegrown Android app stores to upload their apps. 

In general, the total number of app developers in China cannot be precisely said. However, there are over 3.7 million downloadable apps in this massive country.  

Android remains the most used operating system in China, taking over 70% of its smartphone users. With the absence of Google Play Store, China’s Android app stores have been competitive with about 30 alternative Android app stores.  

Apps Over Games

Chinese mobile users spend an average of 6 hours per day on their devices. It implies that the Chinese are heavy users of smartphones. It can also be accrued to the almost unlimited availability of apps to them. 

On the scale of downloads and usage, apps tend to garner more popularity than games. Due to the Great Firewall of China, the internationally popular apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube have been blocked in China. 

Categorically, instant messenger apps are the highest gainers in China’s app distribution market before considering game apps, short video, and eCommerce apps. The most popular app in China is WeChat, based on its versatility to do several activities. WeChat is an all-in-one messaging app that allows you to do other things like gaming, online shopping, and some financial-related service. 

TikTok, also known as Douyin in China, is the most used short video app in China. Its fame has increasingly risen on the world scene with over 1 billion downloads from different app stores. 

China is the world’s largest manufacturer. The industry of eCommerce is thriving well and most Chinese are into online shopping. Hence, Alibaba’s Taobao is the most used app for online shopping, with over 500 million monthly active users. 

Research shows that there are over 604 million mobile gamers in China. Games like Honor of Kings, PlayersUnknown’s Battleground, and Rules of Survival are the leading games in China, registering millions of daily active users. 

Fragmentation of App Stores in China

Having stated earlier that Google Play Store has been blocked in China, its app developers rely on the independent app stores in the country. There are about 400 app stores in China. However, there are three prominent independent app stores in China, popularly referred to as BAT — Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent. The three main actors behind Android app stores in China are internet commerce companies (like Alibaba, the owner of Aliexpress), hardware manufacturers (Huawei, Xiaomi or Vivo), and telecom companies (China Mobile is the biggest one). 

The clear winner is Tencent MyApp App Store. With over 270 million monthly active users. But the reality is that the market is much more fragmented than the rest of the world. In Western countries, Google’s Play Store holds a position that’s quite close to a monopoly, but in China, we cannot find one single app distribution platform that holds enough market share to be even close to that.  

In the field of OEMs, Oppo and Huawei are the ones that hold the highest amount of users with 125 and 122 million monthly active users accordingly. This could be a problem for developers since the requirements to distribute in each app store could result in time and resources invested to get their apps ready, but, since app stores are interested in getting content, they’ve already made this process easy for Android developers. Several Android app stores in Chine source their content with app distributing platforms like Catappult. In that way, developers only need to submit their app to this platform to distribute in several Android app stores. 

When considering the population and the number of smartphone users, app distribution is way lucrative in China. Many developers are rushing into the market to make the best of it. 

However, to fully grasp a higher stance in this market, it is advisable to partner with a company to help distribute in several app stores while minimizing the cost. 

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