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-China Market Analysis- Why Apple App Store Beats Android in China

meattimeatti Hong KongPosts: 1New Users Noob
edited December 2015 in Mobile Marketing Techniques
Hi guys,

I've been asked many times how Apple App Store compares to Android markets in China, which route a western app developer should go first, how to tackle the piracy and local payment integration issues, etc.

For the benefit of every app developer, I thought it is good to do a comparison here. Let’s dive into it…

1. The Market

Android — Fragmented Market
Since Google Play is mostly not yet accessible in China, 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. It takes a couple of top Android app markets to beat the size of the 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 implement 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.

3. Piracy

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 clone your apps and publish them freely in China (and claim their clones is 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

Because of the complication of Android markets, even Clash of Clans failed to make a single penny when it first launched its Android version in China.

Anyone is interested in the China market? Discussion welcomed.


  • nathalieywnathalieyw BelgiumPosts: 2New Users Noob
    Great post! I've facing a very similar issue with the Chinese android market. Our app is a freemium app , but to integrate with each android market with IAP, you need to be a company and needs to setup different IAP SDKs for each store, which is really frustrating.

    Does anyone know if there's some good Chinese publishers for indie games, who can help integrate and distribute android app in China?
  • dev666999dev666999 Posts: 3,632New Users @ @ @ @ @
    Simple solution.

    Ignore the Chinese market when developing for Android.
  • ethanwaethanwa Orlando, FLPosts: 733Registered Users @ @ @
    Yep, I have simply ignored that market as well. Until it matures, there is just no way a small business developer like myself can afford the time and effort to get Android to work in China. Google's fault.
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