China has grown to become an enormous market for developers replacing the U.S. as the No.1 spot for iOS downloads in April, according to App Annie. However, to really start making the big bucks from China’s app markets, you’ll first need to know how and where to promote your apps.
For iOS, you can’t avoid Apple’s App Store, but for Android, even after Google Play launches in China, you will still need to be aware of the Chinese app stores which currently dominate the market.
AllChinaTech handpicks the following channels to help you have a better idea of how to navigate the competitive Chinese app market.
I. Top app stores
According to Analysys International, a Chinese market research agency, the following app stores are the most important download sources in China.
Baidu Mobile Assistant
Baidu isn’t only China’s biggest search engine (a.k.a. the biggest source of traffic), but also owns China’s biggest Android app stores. According to Analysys International, Baidu Mobile Assistant, 91 Mobile Assistant and other Baidu-owned channels (including its search engine) occupy a combined 42.4% of China’s app market.
Tencent My App (Ying Yong Bao)
Due to the success of Tencent’s phenomenal IM products QQ and WeChat, Tencent’s My App store also sees huge traffic, especially for mobile games. Tencent’s My App store is also distinguished for its connection to Tencent’s Open Developer Platform, an SaaS platform. App stores affiliated with Tencent’s My App store have a combined 22.2% of the market.
Qihoo 360 Mobile Assistant
First starting as a security company, Qihoo 360 grew its huge user base out of free anti-virus software for personal computers. After it launched its Mobile Assistant, Qihoo 360 collaborated with China’s major carriers to provide free Wi-Fi access via its Mobile Assistant. It currently holds 19.5% of the market.
SnapPea (or Wandoujia)
SnapPea is an app store incubated by former head of Google China, Kai-Fu Lee’s accelerator program, Innovation Works. Compared to other app stores, SnapPea tends to collaborate more with developers. It also allows users to search within apps, for example, allowing users to search for film ticket information from within ticket purchase apps. It currently has 8.8% of China’s app market.
II. Other channels
The remaining smaller channels have less traffic but are still important for establishing a good reputation in China.
Cool Market is an app store based on the Android news platform and forum, Cool Apk. It’s popular among sophisticated Android users and developers, and is also an effective channel for developers to collect user feedback.
Zui Media is an app that provides daily recommendations for apps with outstanding design characteristics. It has a lot of fans because of the exceptional designs and high quality of its recommendations.
Apps stores by smartphone manufacturers
Collaboration with smartphone manufacturers is one of the most effective promotion methods for Android applications in China. Both pre-loaded apps and apps listed in smartphone manufacturers’ embedded app stores can see enormous traffic. Xiaomi’s app store is one of the most significant manufacturer app stores.
III. How do they work?
For mobile games, it’s common to divide income between app stores and developers at a ratio of 3:7 in China. The exact divisions vary between app stores.
For other applications, it’s common to charge in terms of advertisement placement or activation.