14 Sep Quick Guide: Bringing Your App to the Chinese Marketplace
5 Things to Consider When Publishing Your App in China
In a recent report for AppAnnie, Danielle Levitas stated that in 2016, the global app economy was worth an estimated $1.3 trillion. Within this estimate, China accounted for approximately $0.79 trillion. By 2021, it is forecast that China will see that figure increase to roughly $2.59 trillion. This far exceeds the US and all other regions, making the Chinese marketplace an increasingly popular destination for Western developers.
With a marketplace dominated by Android devices and with no easy access to a fully functioning Google Play store, navigating these foreign waters can be tough. Fortunately, we have experience in this field and have provided a useful guide for any developers hoping to crack the Chinese marketplace.
Step 1: Know your App Stores:
While iOS is steadily growing in popularity, Android is king and there are over 20 different app stores to choose from, so getting your app onto the right store is vital. There are four main app stores in relation to coverage: Tencent, 360, MIUI (Xiaomi), and Baidu.
Applying to be featured is a relatively easy process and will differ slightly from store to store. Many stores have algorithms in place to surface new apps to the top, which could make your app visible across millions of smartphones throughout China. Alternatively, you could contact the editor of the store and explain to them how and why your app has a competitive advantage and is outstanding in its field.
Step 2: Integrate SDKs:
Installing software development kits (SDKs) can provide a list of useful additions for your app, such as convenient local payment solutions (WeChat Pay and Ali-Pay), social sharing, and simple to use login systems. They can also be used to track and analyse user data in an effort to better understand user behaviour when planning for more efficient marketing strategies.
Step 3: Spend Time on Localization:
A deeper understanding of your new audience will significantly improve your apps chances of success. Western audiences and Eastern audiences expect different things from their products and while there are some overlaps, it’s important to be aware of the cultural differences between each region. Beyond the language barrier, there’s advertising standards to consider and whether the content within the app and its marketing is culturally appropriate.
Step 4: Organic User Acquisition
Organic users arrive at your app with little to no marketing (organically). The most popular route is to feature on the front page of an app store. As mentioned above, the right app store can make all the difference, so choose wisely.
Much like Western territories, China is no stranger to social media. WeChat and Weibo have a combined user count of over 1 billion registered users and knowing how to engage with your audience through these apps will help generate more installs and foster a community of fans to spread word of mouth. It’s a great opportunity to present positive stories about your app or highlight and connect with users who are saying positive things about your product. Surfacing these instances of organic user engagement, will help generate more organic installs and reduce your spend on user acquisition.
Step 5 Paid User Acquisition
Many app developers opt for paid user acquisition via advertising networks. The major advertising networks in China are the Tencent ads network (Which is similar to Facebook), Baidu ads network (China’s answer to Google) and Youku and IQiyi (Video streaming sites like YouTube and Netflix).
Through paying to advertise directly to your target audience, you can dramatically increase your initial install base. The key here is to monitor how much you spend on average for every user. This is known as your cost per install (CPI). This should be compared against your incoming revenue to maximize your return on investment (ROI).