Chinese netizens love their smartphones and tend to use them even more than we do in Australia, if that’s possible! According to China Internet Watch, mobile device use is continuing to grow, particularly for Android.
And what goes better with smartphones than apps? Being the world’s biggest mobile market makes China a pretty ripe environment for app developers.
Developing a mobile app strategy for China is no simple matter however, as the app environment there tends to be complex, fragmented and subject to tight regulatory barriers and restrictions. For example, Google Play is virtually banned in China, so finding suitable stores and distributors for your apps is likely going to take more work than it otherwise might.
Tips for developing your app strategy
- Localise your product
As always, it’s vital to adapt your product for where you want to market it. Wise app makers will give their apps a meaningful Chinese name and develop a bilingual marketing strategy if they want to gain traction in China. You should also look into all the other ways that you might be adapt your app for your target market in China.
- Consider using local talent
A bilingual partner who has a strong understanding of the local market is important for overcoming any language barriers. They can also help you select from among the hundreds of app stores in China to identify the best ones – that is, the stores that are best suited to your products and that will manage product distribution.
Some examples of China’s bigger app stores include 360 Mobile Assistant, Baidu Mobile Assistant, Wandoujia, and Tencent MyApp. Bear in mind that many app stores will want to be paid as much as 30% commission. In any case a good partner should be able to negotiate the best deals on your behalf.
- Market and advertise your products
Without Google Play or Facebook in China, the options for advertising and marketing may be more limited. This can be overcome by establishing a presence on China’s social media platforms such as WeChat, Weibo and QQ, and making use of advertising networks like AppFlood, YeahMobi, Baidu DSP and Tencent DSP.
- Listen to what users want
In China, the power of the review is strong, word-of-mouth marketing is powerful, and competition is pretty fierce. This makes it vital to connect with users, find out what they want, and update your products accordingly. Communicating with users can be done through China’s social media sites and also through forums such as Baidu Tieba. If you ignore this step, there’s always the risk that someone else could come in and usurp your position!
- Think about the finances
Other matters to attend to include billing and payment options, pricing structures, and whether to set up a legal entity in China so you can use local servers.
If you’re not sure where to start with all of this, contact Digital Crew. Our bilingual China marketing team has a deep understanding of the market in China and can help you in developing the best mobile app strategy for your business.