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How Chinese apps are thriving in the global market

Adjust’s Alexandre Pham isolates the winning techniques being used by Chinese apps to find success in the wider global app market
How Chinese apps are thriving in the global market

Chinese-developed mobile apps are continuing to take the global mobile app market by storm by focusing efforts on global expansion from the outset. This contrasts the traditional approach of measuring an app’s performance solely in its home market and is steering Chinese app developers towards global success.

In fact, the top-grossing apps globally in 2022 were Chinese-developed apps, including TikTok, Honor of Kings, Genshin Impact and PUBG Mobile, which all together have earned over $1 billion in revenue.

App marketers and developers around the world are taking a closer look at the global success of Chinese apps, noting the strategies being used by Chinese developers and hoping to mimic the same success. In this guest post, Adjust’s vice president EMEA region, Alexandre Pham considers the most profitable markets, the verticals driving the rise of Chinese apps, and the strategies behind their success.


Chinese app growth: Three key findings

1. Chinese utility apps thrive in Vietnam and Nigeria

Focusing on specific app categories, such as utilities, entertainment, and gaming is helpful to see which countries and markets are downloading these apps the most.

Vietnam and Nigeria are leading the way in the utility app market share, with 39% of all installs in Vietnam coming from Chinese utility apps. Nigeria follows closely with 35%, and Thailand with 27%.

2. Pakistan sees a strong presence of Chinese entertainment apps

The success of Chinese entertainment apps is apparent as they continue to expand across different regions. In Pakistan, Chinese apps account for 20% of entertainment installs. Vietnam, Indonesia, and Egypt are not far behind, with 20%, 14% and 12%, respectively. In Brazil and Colombia, both of which have strong trade ties with China, 6% of all entertainment app installs come from Chinese apps.

3. Chinese gaming apps dominate across markets

Chinese gaming apps are thriving in Southeast Asia; Indonesia and the Philippines are leading the way, with an impressive 30% and 27% of all gaming downloads being Chinese- developed apps.

The UK and the U.S. are also embracing Chinese gaming apps, which account for 8% of all gaming installs. And even Japan, known for its home-grown gaming industry, has 7% of gaming installs from Chinese apps. Brazil and Colombia are also significant players, with a substantial 13% and 11% download share from Chinese gaming apps.

Strategies behind the success of Chinese apps

So just what are Chinese app developers doing to drive such rapid growth in the global market? We’ve recognised two key strategies that are behind their success.

Hyper-localisation is an important starting point. Chinese companies hyper-localise everything from their websites to apps to ensure they cater to their target audience in every market.

Secondly, leveraging mobile analytics enables Chinese developers to measure and analyse users’ in-app behaviour. With this data, they can deliver relevant messages to their target audiences and continually improve user acquisition and retention. By understanding user preferences, Chinese app marketers offer more personalised experiences, leading to higher engagement and a better overall user experience.

A vigilant approach to navigating new markets

The unprecedented global expansion of Chinese apps continues to perplex industry experts, and China remains unrivalled in its success. The tactics driving this success will inevitably evolve to align with the demands of diverse markets and app sectors. Chinese app developers and marketers venturing into new markets must be vigilant and adapt to the ever-changing global landscape to ensure continued growth.

Edited by Paige Cook