App stats cast light on China's trillion-dollar mobile market

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Figures from App Annie show the degree to which the Chinese mobile app economy towers over all others.

China has more than a billion mobile devices and total yearly spend on mobile - including mobile commerce, app store purchases, and in-app advertising - which now approaches $800 billion, is expected to reach $2.59 trillion by 2021, about 41 per cent of global mobile spend.

"By any measure, China represents enormous opportunity when it comes to mobile," says the company.

A problem has been that data from Android phones, which garner more than 80 per cent of the market share in China, is notoriously difficult to accurately measure because users can purchase apps through more than one hundred third-party app stores.

App Annie claims to have developed "best-in-class" Chinese Android app usage metrics, building on its existing iOS App Store and usage metrics.

Key takeaways include that China's leading apps hold a commanding presence in the top rankings of the used apps globally for Android phone and iPhone combined. One of the top five most used apps and four of the five most used games came from China.

For most people in China, messaging platform WeChat is already a household name, its feature list allowing users to pre-order food from a restaurant, book a taxi, get directions on foot, pay for meals (or split a bill with friends), check movie times and book tickets, and shop online.

App Annie says it is hard to overstate the importance of the major social apps (especially WeChat) to the mobile ecosystem in China. For foreign app publishers seeking to expand into China, a thorough data-driven understanding of these apps and its users is vital to a successful expansion strategy.

"However, WeChat's dominance doesn't mean the app ecosystem in China is any less vibrant than its global counterparts. On the contrary, from shopping to video streaming a vast number of unique home grown apps have emerged in China, creating one of the world's largest and fastest growing app economies.

"In particular, China already has the largest mobile gaming market in the world by active users, and it is only continuing its rapid growth over time."

Chinese game publishers are increasingly looking overseas for expansion opportunities, Tencent having acquired western gaming powerhouses Supercell, Miniclip and Riot Games, while international publishers have struggled to make similar headway in China.

Topping the biggest mobile games in the world was Tencent's Honour of Kings (video clip pictured). The top five (in order) are Honour of Kings (Tencent), Anipop (Happy Elements), Clash of Clans (Tencent Supercell), Candy Crush Saga (Activision Blizzard, King), Clash Royale (Tencent Supercell).

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