China Update: 250 Million Smartphone Users, $13.7 Billion in App Sales
China has an estimated 500,000 to 800,000 mobile application developers catering to the approximate quarter billion mobile phone users that own smartphones, reports HQ magazine, a CSOFT International publication. While most apps are free, Chinese users are willing to pay a premium to gain access to additional features or competitive advantages.
According to HQ, China is now the largest market for smartphones in the world, surpassing the United States in usage.
The most popular apps are in the social and communication categories, with QQ and Weixin (also known as WeChat) among the favorites. One million Weixin accounts have been set up in China since the app launched in January 2011.
While the most popular and successful apps are free, Chinese users are willing to pay for upgrades once they've downloaded the basic app and developed a dependency on its features.
The numbers are staggering: according to independent research firms, 76 percent of the Chinese population (more than one billion people) are registered mobile phone users. The estimated revenue from Chinese mobile internet users in 2011: $13.7 billion.
"There is a massive market as yet untapped in China," reports HQ magazine. "Understanding what Chinese smartphone users desire in their apps is just the first step to penetrating that market."