China is Having a Global Impact on Mobile Device and Application Development
Possession of smartphones and tablets is no longer exclusive to the elite people of rich countries. Mobile developers and manufacturers have expanded their market and strategically made it a point that even the people from lower income brackets in the society can get a device they want and truly enjoy it.
In a study made by Flurry, which analyzes Chinese app analytics and the interaction of humans with mobile apps, China holds 24% of the world’s connected information and communication devices, with 261,333,271 smartphone and tablet users as of June of 2013. This astounding figure represents a quarter of the entire population of connected and active device users worldwide.
China has also seen a fast increase in device acquisition, together with Brazil, Russia and India—an increase even more remarkable when compared to the growth in device and app acquisition rates in the United States, United Kingdom and South Korea.
Considering the notable figures China is making recently, here are noteworthy factors to look into with regard to the growing trend on apps and devices in the country.
China Has the Largest Number of Mobile Users in the World
China has exceeded the figures of United States with regard to worldwide number of devices installed by the end of 2011. This result is courtesy of a study made by mobile analytics firm Flurry, which reflects that China is now the world’s number one country to hold the most iOS and Android active users. Note that there are over 1.1 billion mobile subscriptions in China to date, with a whopping 10 million new subscriptions each month. However, China no longer leads the world in relation to growth in the number of active devices per country. That pack is led by Colombia followed by Vietnam, Turkey and Ukraine.
Chinese Mobile Users Spend Time Gaming
Devices are used differently according to the preferences and needs of the users. However, usage of the growing number of smartphones and tablets in China is still generally the same as with the rest of the world. And most Chinese device users allocate time for enjoyment of games and entertainment on their gadgets.
A random study examining 18,310 Chinese devices in Flurry’s system that run iOS or Android apps revealed that Chinese people use their gadgets and spend most time on game apps. The statistics shows that 47% of iOS device owners use their smartphones for games, while 56% of the Android users use their tablets for the same purpose.
On the other hand, Android users reflect a significant 20% for entertainment use compared to an approximately 2% for iOS users. Both device types reflect lower rates for social apps.
Chinese Mobile Users Spend More Time Using Productivity Apps
Use of smartphones and tablets in China is not limited to fun, entertainment and games. Users are also into apps that increase and improve knowledge and productivity—and this is where Chinese users differ from the rest of the world.
Active smartphone and tablet users spend more time in finance (7.4x), books (1.8x), newsstand (1.7x), utility (2.3x) and productivity (2.1x) than other countries. Flurry also shows what apps the Chinese market over-index: iPhone users are most inclined to download apps on books, newsstand, productivity and utilities; iPad users on newsstand and Android users on finance and entertainment.
The report also reflects that apps developed in China may attract greater number of users, given the cultural features of the country. Considering those features, Flurry also forecasts that more productivity apps—those that relate to work and education—will be increasingly in demand.
Xiaomi is Selling More Phones in China
In the same sample study by Flurry, Apple and Samsung remain the top two device manufacturers in China, with 35% and 15% shares in market respectively. Xiaomi, a privately owned Chinese company that designs, develops, manufactures and sells both mobile hardware and software is going up against the giants, immediately following with 6% market share. Xiaomi runs ahead of other manufacturers including Lenovo, HTC, Sony, Sony Ericsson, among other well-known brands.
The recently founded Xiaomi reported over one million Yuan turnover for the first half of 2013—with approximately 38,000 smartphone sales per day. For every smartphone it releases, Xiaomi has proven to be successful in accumulating active patrons and users. Given the increasing share in the market of Xiaomi, it is highly probable that the its products will gain more public support as it launches new and innovative products—particularly of the rumored tablets—in the near future.
The Effect of China in the Device and Application Market
The rate of Chinese modernity growth is significantly and rapidly growing. Just the statistics on the smartphone and tablet possession hint that the country is in the process of shaping the future of mobile technology, not just in Asia but the rest of the world.
It is also important to note that devices manufactured and apps developed in China are getting a promising market share and are seen to enjoy more advantage locally. App developers in China like Baidu (mobile browser) and Tencent (developer of WeChat), are already gaining public favor. They are initially focusing on features that would capture the interest of the local market, but they are seen to eventually export apps, after testing the value of their apps to the local market.
Developers can also focus on the Chinese users over-index on apps relating to books, productivity, utilities, finance and entertainment to better improve while answering the needs and fulfill the desires of the local market. Once recognized by the market, foreign brands may eventually notice and give the app a try for their respective markets. Only by then can we find out which Chinese-developed app can become popular world wide.