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Best Chinese App Stores

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China is a leading country in the development of the mobile economy. Therefore, mobile apps are an essential tool for doing business and promoting brands in China. However, due to strict legislation, Google Play store app, the most popular app store in Europe and America, is banned in China. In this case, there are many Chinese app stores for Android devices on the Chinese market. In this article, we will tell you about the top Chinese app stores and methods to use the features of China’s mobile economy for promotion in mainland China.

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Mobile Economy in China

China’s digital economy has been an actively growing sector in recent years. For example, according to GSMA Intelligence’s report, mobile technologies have generated about $890 billion in 2021, or 5.6% of China’s GDP, it is predicted that the value added of the mobile industry will be nearly $960 billion in 2025. 

In 2021, the number of mobile app users was 1.22 billion, which is 83% of China’s population, by the end of 2025 it will reach 1.26 billion users (84% of the population). At the same time, more and more Chinese consumers are switching to 5G, making China one of the world’s leading countries in this field: China’s share of 5G connections in the world is 75%, it is predicted that there will be about 892 million additional 5G connections by the end of 2025.

Nowadays China has a highly developed infrastructure for the mobile economy. However, China’s Internet is largely controlled by the government, so many foreign applications are banned in China, making it a unique mobile app market. This applies not only to apps, but also to mobile app stores.

There are two app stores, the most popular outside of China – Apple’s App Store for IOS and Google Play for a mobile phone running Google’s Android operating system. For IOS devices, there is a Chinese version of Apple’s App Store in China that is available to Chinese users, although some applications on this store are still blocked in the PRC. In general, Apple’s IOS App Store in China retains all the main features of the Apple App Store abroad.

However, Google Play store, which is one of the leading android app stores for mobile apps outside of China, is blocked in the PRC, so Chinese digital companies such as Tencent and electronics manufacturers such as Huawei or Xiaomi are developing their own Chinese android app stores to compete effectively on Chinese app market. There are different Android app stores in China, we have reviewed the major app stores below.

Top app stores in China

Huawei AppGallery (华为应用市场)

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Huawei App Store is the largest Chinese app store for Android apps distribution, MAU are about 421.8 million users, DAU are 58.3 million, and the market share among other Chinese app stores is the largest – 44.31%. Huawei is a leading Chinese consumer electronics company and mobile communications company. It launched its own Huawei app market store in 2011, and now Huawei AppGallery is a default store installed on all Huawei mobile devices in China.

OPPO App Store (OPPO软件商店)

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OPPO is a company owned by BBK Electronics, which is a premium segment consumer electronics manufacturer. Since 2008, OPPO has been producing mobile devices, it started to enter foreign markets in 2013 and extremely increased the number of VIVO phones sold abroad. In order to earn money on the China mobile app market, the company introduced its own Chinese app store, which intensively attracts app developers and deploy a wide number of android apps categories including free apps, paid apps, professional business apps, messaging apps, etc. The market share of the China app store is nearly 17.22%, the number of monthly active users are 163.9 million, daily active users are 35.1 million people.

VIVO App Store (VIVO应用商店)

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VIVO is another company owned by BBK Electronics, which specializes in the production of smartphones, research and development in the field of mobile services, online services for android developers and users, etc. Since 2011, the company has been producing mobile devices and has seven factories in East and South Asia. VIVO App Store is a default app store installed on devices produced by the VIVO company. It controls nearly 17.22% of the China app stores market, MAU are 163.9 million and DAU are 35 million people.

Tencent Appstore (腾讯应用宝)

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Tencent MyApp App Store is another popular Chinese app store: the market share of the Android app store is 16.39%, MAU are 156 million and DAU are about 32.2 million people. Tencent is the largest digital ecosystem in China in terms of capitalization volume. Although the scope of the company’s activities is related to social network and communication, Tencent obtains a significant share of the mobile apps market and uses the opportunities of its ecosystem to promote the service.

Xiaomi GetApps (小米应用商店)

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Xiaomi app store is the fifth largest Chinese mobile application store in terms of market share and active users: the share is 10.27% and MAU are 97.8 million people. Xiaomi is one of the largest mobile phone manufacturers and producers of other electronic devices. Today, Xiaomi’s mobile phones ship to Asian and European countries, and in twelve of them, Xiaomi is the leader in smartphone sales in the local market. The company has developed its own android firmware – the MIUI operating system based on Android for its devices. Xiaomi Getapps is an official app store installed as the default store on Xiaomi smartphones and gets all the features related to Google Play.

How to promote your apps in China?

After determining the major Chinese application stores, you should think about app marketing and the promotion channels of your apps on the Chinese market. First, your app must meet the necessary requirements, for example, related to Chinese licensing laws – obtaining a Chinese business license (营业执照) and a developer license (软件著作权证明), connecting to a local hosting provider, etc. Then, deploying applications on the most popular app stores gives you the opportunity to use app store optimization tools, built-in promotional tools, such as pre-rolls, banner ads, and other tools available in the developer account, etc.

In addition, you can use popular Chinese Internet marketing tools such as:

  • Baidu: a popular web browser in China; if you have a Chinese website, you can launch SEO campaigns and Baidu Ads options; it is also possible to work with Baidu applications such as Baidu Zhidao, Baidu Baike, etc. to improve SEO and promote your brand in China.
  • WeChat: the largest Chinese social network; you can set up a WeChat account to promote your apps through consistent communication with a target audience, launch a sales funnel, and set up WeChat ads.
  • Douyin: a popular short-video platform in China that provides opportunities to communicate with consumers in an interactive format, launch Douyin ads in the application, etc.

Conclusions

All in all, due to the limitations of the Chinese Internet, combined with the blocking of Google’s Play Store and some Google Play Market apps, other leading Chinese companies, both digital (such as Tencent) and manufacturing (such as Huawei), are developing their own app stores in China. Apart from the stores we mentioned, there are many other alternative app stores such as PP Assistant – a Chinese app store developed by Chinese tech giant Alibaba, 360 Mobile Assistant developed by a famous Chinese internet security company Qihoo 360, ZTE App Store, China Mobile MM Store, Baidu Mobile Assistant, etc. Brands interested in promoting apps on the Chinese market should focus on these stores and the marketing tools available for promotion in China.

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