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200M Reasons to Launch Your App in China

Do app and mobile game developers from the West stand a chance in China? The country now leads the world in new iOS/Android phone activations, with a market forecast to have over 200 million smartphone owners this year. It’s also the world’s largest app market, where 2/3rds of iOS owners have bought at least one app, and where 66% of the top grossing iOS/Android games are from the West. (Angry Birds and Plants versus Zombies: Huge in China.) But it’s also a wild and unpredictable market, with hundreds of different app stores, very different monetization behavior, and often rampant, unchecked IP piracy.

However, there are ways Western developers can protect their apps and thrive in China -- as long as they’re willing to work with the Chinese culture and economy, not against them. A panel of US-China experts share the insights and hard lessons they’ve learned back and forth across this Great Wall of opportunity.


  1. What are China’s biggest apps and mobile games, and what do they say about the market? We’ll discuss how Chinese mobile gamers and app users differ from those in the West, and the way that affects how they play... and pay.
  2. If Chinese mobile owners hate paying for apps, how do you get them to pay? Chinese rarely pay to download games and other mobile apps, but once they’ve installed them, will spend billions of dollars a year while playing them. We talk about the popularity of in-app payments, the reasons Chinese spend so much on them -- and how to make in-app payments in your own apps appealing.
  3. How do you make a Western game appealing to Chinese gamers? While many Western games and apps are popular in China, many are ignored for cultural mismatches and other reasons. We share case studies of Western/European game/app developers who added features to their app that helped the Chinese market embrace them.
  4. Since Facebook and Twitter are blocked in China, how do you connect your app to Chinese social networks? China has developed its own extremely large social networks that rival Twitter in size. We talk about Sina Weibo, Ren Ren, and the other popular networks in China -- and how app developers use them, to drive installs and engagement.
  5. What do you do if your mobile game’s been pirated in China? If you have a successful smartphone game in the West, the hard reality is this: It will be pirated in China. Not only that, Chinese app stores will often just ignore takedown requests from Western developers. However, there are solutions to not only keep your IP safe, but to replace pirated versions of your game with the legit copy that you can control..



Jennifer Lankford, Vice President, theMIX

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