25 Aug 2015

In the first quarter of 2015 Chinese users have downloaded 30% more iOS applications, compared to the same period last year. As stated in the report “China forged ahead and overtook the United States in the number of downloads from the App Store”, conducted by an analyst firm App Annie, it was enough to get ahead of the US and come out on top in the number of iOS applications downloads in the world. So if you do not want to miss more than 1.4 billion potential customers, be prepared for localization of your app into Chinese!


What was the reason for the increase? Are current users more likely to buy applications or has the number of Apple device owners increased? The second option is more likely to be true. According to IDC, the number of iPhones and iPads in China in 2014 increased immediately by 40%, while growth in the US was only 13%. The massive influx of users has helped China to circumvent the US in the number of iOS downloads.


Analyzing the causes of Apple’s sales growth in China, App Annie says:

  • iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have larger screens than the previous models; such “phablets” are especially popular among Chinese consumers;
  • other local factors: active support of operators and expansion of the retail network (new Apple Stores).

The highest increase in downloads can be observed in such categories as “Entertainment”, “Photo and Video”, “Lifestyle”. One of the most popular apps is iMovie by Apple, which is available for free download.

In addition to interesting free applications, innovations in the OS also contributed to the Apple’s success. An important feature of iOS 8 (released in September 2014) was the built-in integration with WeChat, the largest social network in China. WeChat support allows Apple to improve the work with social networks. And the ability to share an app with friends increases its “virality” dramatically.


What apps has gained popularity in the App Store? The apps for mobile commerce: online stores, catalogs, order services, daily promotions and sales, local business reviews and ads for mobile users. Chinese users discovered them in 2014. According to App Annie, among the 20 most frequently downloaded apps in China, 17 are in the area of ​​mobile commerce.

The Chinese are rapidly moving to mobile payments. It is confirmed by statistics of Alipay service (the largest Internet payment platform, which the entire e-commerce in China is based on). Over the first 10 months in 2014 54% of all operations were carried out in Alipay using mobile devices (compared with 22% for the full 2013).

Conclusion: China has formed a huge market of active mobile users, who increasingly make their payments on the go. Want to know more? Refer directly to the source: the report “China Surges Ahead of the United States in iOS App Store Downloads” is available here.