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.
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.