China tops list as largest consumer of mobile apps

World Today

Some 90 billion mobile apps were downloaded in China last year. That accounts for nearly half of all new downloads globally. The market is becoming very lucrative for app developers.

And as CGTN’s Sun Tianyuan reports, Chinese firms are cashing in on the trend.

With over 1.4 billion people, it makes sense that China downloads more apps than any other country. Its one billion smart devices are seeing a boom in downloads of late. But the surge is due to more than just the number of users.

He Wenqian is an analyst with Beijing Analysys Network Technology. She said, “Lower costs and higher coverage for more people to access mobile internet is key. Favorable policies have also encouraged developers to provide services and meet demand in thousands of sectors.”

“You learn, you cool” is one of the largest English learning platforms in China. Launched in 2015, the company mainly teaches students via its app using news wires and classical literature.

Its founder Xia Peng said, “Currently we have 60,000 hours of recordings already. Over 700,000 users have subscribed to our program.”

The app charges for some lessons. An annual membership costs about 2,400 yuan, or $350s. So far the company has over 200,000 paid users.

“We focus on content. We focus on delivery. We focus on the teaching quality. So we spent zero RMB in marketing,” Xia explained.

In 2018, China accounted for nearly 40 percent of the world’s $100 billion worth of global app consumption. According to He, “China’s mobile payment options have provided a convenient outlet for consumers to spend. The group also has an increasingly stronger willingness to pay. So this also contributed the surge in app consumption.”

While more mainstream apps like those on English education emerge, some developers are eyeing niche markets. One example, an app that shows you how to modify a race car.

Car enthusiast Ma Jun has taken his hobby from the garage to the web. Like a racer, Ma waited for his best time to cut in.

Ma’s app, KACHIGAIZHUANG, has lured 10,000 users since its November launch, not bad for a start-up of 10. He said, “We are taking the advantage of the mobile Internet’s booming development. We saw the opportunity and went for it.”

The racing enthusiast adds his ambition lies in the future of racing, while the fan base grows: “We want to focus on the content and build up our brand first, then later we can attract financing.”

China’s app economy is in the fast lane, as more people enjoy the benefits of mobile internet. Experts said the next growth point may happen in smaller cities where markets are untapped.