China’s mobile apps eye overseas markets
As well as your basic necessities, "Made in China" components have penetrated yourmobile phone.
Sharing and communicating with your friends on WeChat, customizing your Android homescreen into something unique with Go Launcher EX manages app, enjoying the ultimateweb surfing experience in U.C. browser, and taking amazing photos with the mobile cameraapp Camera360… nowadays, you can see such scenes throughout the world, and especiallyin countries like the United States, Russia, South Africa and India.
And all the above-mentioned apps were created in China. They are changing people’s livesand impacting the world.
According to data from mobile data firm App Annie, two Chinese companies have squeezedinto the world’s top ten in the Google App Store download rankings.
“I meet a lot of investors in the United States. When I meet them for the first time andthey say to me, “I am a user of your products”, then I can loosen my tie and breathe out. Iknow that things will go well thanks to their understanding of our products,” says ZhangXiangdong, President of Sungy Mobile Limited, a Guangzhou-based company that is aleading global provider of mobile Internet products and services.
Sungy Mobile is best-know for its Go launcher EX app, which creates a wide variety ofoptions for Android-based smart phones. Its apps, most of which are free, have achieved acollective 325 million downloads globally - and 70 percent of its users are from outsideChina.
As well as domestic Internet giants Baidu, Tencent and Kingsoft with an eye for theinternational market, some small and medium-sized companies are also unearthing theirfirst pots of gold in overseas markets. According to Yu Dejun, Vice President of APP Annie,it is estimated that the revenues of Chinese firms on Google Play rank among the world’stop three.
The Mobile Internet itself is an internationalized market, says Zhang Xiangdong, and agood product can win popularity in a very short time through social networks. It isgenerally believed that competition in overseas markets is fairer, and this is enticingChinese-built apps into competition with other world products.
In recent years apps and games such as Evernote, Line, and Angry Birds have entered theChinese market, allowing domestic developers both to feel the pressure of competition andto see the potential in overseas markets.
Internationalization is our dream, and it is also the only way to compete on the mobileInternet. If a mobile Internet company cannot gain a foothold in the global market, thensooner or later it will lose out to its rivals, according to Zhang. But when going abroad,mobile apps must be ready to localize and to adapt to different cultures and markets, headds.
Everything depends on product
As well as the Internet giants, small and medium-sized companies are also seeking to goglobal.
“Our core advantage lies in innovation,” says Xu Hao, CEO of Chengdu-based PinguoTechnology. They produce Camera 360, which is the first mobile photography app tosurpass 100 million users within three years of its launch. In August, the company - whoseemployees have an average age of 26 - secured 18 million U.S. dollars of financing.
“The positive environment has brought opportunities for the industry, but it is difficult toshake off the competition,” says Xu Hao. It is not easy for small and medium-sized teamsto attract attention from and secure the recognition of overseas users and foreign capital.In the first half of 2013, only 17 percent of Chinese mobile apps developers turned a profit. 36 percent of them suffered heavy losses, as a report released by iiMedia Research shows.
Many companies are choosing Asia and Africa as their main foreign target markets due tothe similar culture and stage of development with China. It is estimated that UC browserhas grabbed more than 30 percent of market share among Indian users and in Africa,especial in South Africa, WeChat has significant number of users.
Whether we will attract a lot of overseas users, and whether we can convert these users torevenues, we must achieve success through products and technology.
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