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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., and here is my answer...

Marcus Kay, Blogger

July 29, 2016

3 Min Read

Meatti - App Store Optimization

In my last post, I promised to tell you about how to enter the China's mobile app market. 

This time, I'm going to help you answer the very first question most developers have in mind: 

Which app platform should you start first, iOS or Android? 

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.

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. Its revenue is US$2.3Bn, or 35%, out of the total US$6.5Bn (Newzoo, 2015). And 29% smart devices in China are iPhone/iPad (TalkingData, 2016). It takes many Android app markets to beat one 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

 

So, you've got the answer now, right?

To put things in perspective, because of the above complication of Android markets, even Clash of Clans failed to make a single penny when it first launched its Android version in China. The game was downloaded 200,000 times in its first month, with aggregate downloads exceeding one million. However, it didn’t create any revenue because its payment system was based on Google Play, a platform that is inaccessible in China.

It is a no-brainer that Apple App Store is the better route to go. You can find many successful western apps in the App Store but successful western Android apps in China are rare.

So if you have an iOS app, good for you! You are almost ready to go China!

If you are interested in knowing more details, feel free to leave a comment below.

 

 

This post originally appeared on Meatti 

Marcus Kay

Marcus Kay

Marcus is the founder of Meatti. He helps mobile game developers and marketers enter China's mobile market. Find him on Twitter, LinkedIn and Medium.

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