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Mobile apps in China - statistics & facts

The rise of smartphones and mobile applications have unlocked new levels of economic growth in China. Owing to the country’s highly engaged mobile population and the booming mobile e-commerce, the red dragon has risen to be one of the largest mobile app economies in the world. In 2018, China's smartphone penetration rate was a modest 68 percent, far below South Korea, the United States, and Germany. However, China has already surpassed the United States with over 850 million smartphone users, and this number is still going up. In 2019, Chinese users contributed about half of the global consumer spending on mobile apps. It suffices to say that the China's mobile app market is thriving.

How is the mobile app landscape in China?

To understand this rise of this lucrative market, it is important to first delineate that the app industry in China is quite different from other countries. Since Google Play Store is blocked by the country's Great Firewall, various Android app stores have been developed. Popular western apps are not present in this massive market due to the government’s strict censorship control. Chinese smartphone users spend most of the time on apps affiliated with the homegrown BAT tech giants – Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent. From WeChat and QQ as instant messaging to Sina Weibo and Douyin (the original Chinese version of TikTok) as social media, Chinese people have their own mega-hit mobile apps, and some are not even known on the global scale.

How engaged are Chinese mobile users?

When it comes to digital innovation, Chinese consumers seem to be more prompt to embrace technological changes in comparison with many other countries. While mobile app downloads are surging across the world, almost half of the traffic is from China. In fact, in the second quarter of 2019, a report revealed that the average Chinese smartphone users installed 56 apps on their phones. They spent an average of 4.7 hours on mobile apps per day, up from just slightly over four hours in the previous year. The highly engaged mobile users have also become more tolerant of news feed ads. Evidently, the in-app consumer spending is also increasing in the country, especially in gaming, e-commerce, and streaming apps. Considering all these factors, one can fairly predict an optimistic future for the mobile app market in the "Middle Kingdom".

Interesting statistics

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Mobile apps in China

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