What are the differences between the Chinese and Western Android app markets?

We invest a lot of our time explaining the differences between the Western and Chinese Android market to our clients, so what better topic to relaunch our blog page with.

Here’s a brief summary of one of our client’s experiences tackling the Chinese app market:

“I started out believing that distributing my app would be as simple as posting an app to Google Play and Apple’s App Store. It takes about 30 minutes from start to finish, so, I assumed that it would be similar to those stores…with some language translations mixed in obviously. Unfortunately, it is not. The Chinese app market has a LOT of unique ‘policies and procedures’ that make the process completely impossible for a non-native speaker to navigate.”

Main Difference

When entering the Chinese market, Western Android app companies/developers are often overwhelmed by the different market dynamic in China.

In the West, distributing an Android app is simple. Open an account with Google Play or Amazon Appstore, upload your app and wait for the revenue to come in. Simple.

However, in China, the distribution process doesn’t start and end with Google Play or Amazon Appstore. In fact, the Chinese Android market is dominated by over 400 different third-party stores, (Tencent MyApp, Wandoujia, MIUI App Store etc.), with Google Play only holding a marginal market share and Amazon Appstore unpopular with local users.

Why is the market different?

There are three main reasons why the Android market is different in China.

  1. Android phones bought in China don’t come pre-set with Google Services, instead phone manufacturer’s individual services are integrated.
  2. Google Services are heavily restricted, while third-party service providers enjoy complete functionality.
  3. Downloading apps from Google Play requires more steps than the third-party stores. On Google Play, a user needs to register an account and enter their password before they can download and install an app. Whereas, on third-party stores, a user can simply click on the download button and the app starts downloading straightaway.

How do I upload my app to third-party stores?

Uploading your app to these third-party stores is a time-consuming task and there are 3 fundamental steps which need to be carried out before your app is successfully distributed.

First, you need to figure out which stores you want to upload your app to.

Then, you need to setup an account with each of the app stores you’ve chosen.

Last, you need to provide legal documentation and a localized APK to get approved by each individual app store.

This process can take months to complete if you don’t have a strong understanding of the market and a good grasp of the Chinese language.

How we can help?

AppInChina can help you by using our knowledge to target relevant app stores, execute all the necessary procedures, secure placement and ultimately allow you to gain access to around 90% of the market in China.

Additionally, we can also provide assistance with promotion, updates, monitoring, reclaiming, protection, localization and maintenance of your app.


Check out our Top 20 Chinese Android App Store rankings here.

For more information and insight about the Chinese Android market, follow our blog and our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages, or contact us at info@appinchina.co for any other enquiries!

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