China is one of the most important app user country in the world. Its population’s connectivity is constantly growing just as the number of apps offered in this market.


But first, China is…


  • Nearly 1 billion people connected to their phone daily
  • An average time spent per day using smartphones of 6 hours
  • A mobile app market representing $46 billion in 2017
  • Among the 194 billion mobile app downloads worldwide in 2018, China accounted for almost 50% of it, and 40% of consumer spending!
  • Also the Top 1 country in term of downloads and consumer spend with an unstoppable increase



So, knowing that there exist over 100 Android app stores in China, how can you stand out from local AND foreign apps with your own app yet unknown by the Chinese public?


The essential reasons and steps to follow when launching your app in China:


Why launching your app in China?

In contrast with western beliefs, China is the most connected country with the highest number of internet users in the world.

Indeed, the Chinese are used to note and comment on the products they bought online. They are active AND numerous.

This hyperconnectivity represents a huge opportunity for everything digital and numbers speak for themselves: for the 2017 11/11 special single day in China, 90% of sales were made through a mobile phone!

Moreover, is it very common to see people paying with their phones in China: they can pay in restaurants, shops, but it also makes the online shopping process simpler and accessible.


For example, 83% of WeChat users shop online and 63% of Chinese consumers are willing to pay for digital content (music, videos, apps, …).


Adapt or adopt


The Chinese market is very different from other markets in the world. That is why you have to get along with Chinese habits and lifestyles to meet success.


  1. Adapt your content


Only 25% of the Chinese population speaks English and the main spoken language is Mandarin. Offering an app totally in English will brake your potential customers to download your app. It is possible for you to put few words here and there in English in your app, but a full-English app won’t make it and will limit the scope your app could have reach if it was in Mandarin.

If your app is only in English, potential customers will think your app isn’t for them and won’t download it or even take the time to know about it.

You have to translate your app in both English and Mandarin.

Translating your app in these two languages is essential, and even basic for you to get on the Chinese app market.


  1. Reach the largest possible audience

Po-faced Left-wing plays are making theatre predictable and boring ...

Be an open door in China. Most Chinese consumers are not against the idea “pay to get access”, but they are however very reluctant when it comes to paying for Apps. Offering a paying app can be a waste of opportunity.

That is why you can choose alternative revenues like IAP (In-App-Purchases) or also advertising. Chinese will be much more willing to spend money in IAP and ads are well accepted (if they are nicely introduced).


  1. Think about the paying process: WeChat Pay and Alipay

Because paying through your phone is common in China, you have to adopt this practice.

Since Alipay has 54% of the online payment market share and WeChat Pay has 40% of it, adopting these payment methods is an essential point for your app.

Also, Chinese don’t like to wait and are used to fast life, your app must be fast when loading and intuitive for the user experience.


  1. Consider local restrictions


You may have heard that Google or Facebook are not accessible in China and this is true.

The bad news is that many websites are not available from China and so Chinese don’t have access to these information.

Say bye to Google, Facebook or even Instagram, Chinese use Baidu for their research, WeChat to communicate and Weibo to share visual content.

Local restrictions obviously lead Chinese to use totally different search engines or social networks from ours, which leads us to our next step.


Make your app known

  1. Choose your platform

Since app stores are numerous in China, you have to think about which one you want to launch it. On several ones? On one and only? Think about which one is in tune with your goals and business plan.

Can you afford being featured on Google Play or App Store? You can choose an alternative solution on local platforms. Some of these local stores offer PPD (Pay Per Download) options to feature your app for a defined period of time.


  1. Raise your app awareness


There are many ways to do it on the short or long run:

Baidu SEO: A Guide to SERP Features & Ranking Signals


Be present on Baidu is essential for any brand or product that aims to get into the Chinese market, and so it is for your app. For this, you have to be referenced in Chinese and think about a Chinese name for your app.

Chinese do their research in Chinese, don’t forget it!


Having an optimal SEO on Baidu is important, but the more important thing is to adapt any website you plan to create in a mobile format. Yes, since 98% of the connections in China are made from a mobile phone, converting your website is vital.


You can also get a ranking benefit by making good use of keywords, hosting your website on a server in Hong Kong/Taiwan or having a domain ending with .cn, or all of them!


This will give visibility and credibility to your app and also allow you to build and control its e-reputation.


-Social Media


Using Social Media in China is the best way to get noticed.



  • WeChat is a great tool for any marketing operation and has endless options to spread information. Having recently reached 1 billion daily active users, WeChat is a large and unavoidable platform in Chinese people’s daily life. The first thing is to create your official account to communicate your marketing content to interested users. You can also share a WeChat brochure to quickly explain to them what is your app about, or even create a WeChat mini-program to initiate them!





  • Weibo is also a must in China: with 500 million monthly active users, it is the Chinese Twitter. Also focusing on visual content, you can quickly reach any target and easily drive them the download page of your app. Here again, your official account will be the first step for your marketing campaign. But there exist many other tools that you can find in Douyin too.




  • Also with 500 million monthly active users, Douyin is THE 2019 app in China. The big majority of Douyin’s users are young (half of them are under 24) and is a short videos oriented platform. In other words, Douyin is a perfect platform for collaborating with one or several KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) to promote your app. This will help you to build your e-reputation and get into the Chinese world-of-mouth.




Whether it is on WeChat, Weibo or Douyin, a new feature that is currently booming in the Chinese digital world is livestreaming. Brands and KOLs are rising fast with livestreaming, gain visibility and become more reliable in the Chinese’s eyes.


You can also look into paid ads available on Weibo and Douyin. Open-up ads (appearing for a few seconds when you open the app) or feed-ads (appearing in your feed content), they are both efficient ways to reach a target’s attention and interest.


  1. Find reliable partners is vital in China

Samsung Bioepis partners with 3SBio on biosimilars

As you know, China is a very special country where lifestyles are greatly different from other countries and where regulations are tough and constantly changing. Finding a partner specialized in both of these characteristics and in your domain will be the most helpful thing you will need.

Read also 

Advanced Marketing Strategies for Brands in China (Top Article)



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  • A mix between, geek and artists
  • A digital Marketing Agency with a great visibility in China
  • our case studies here
  • A multitude of domains of expertise
  • We offer you 30 minutes of free consultation here


Don’t hesitate to contact us !

We will be glad to be able to exchange with you and guide you in this new China adventure.

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  1. The app world in China is so large, certainly one of the largest in the world if it’s not THE largest.
    Opportunities for us developers are real, but I saw many of us fail when launching our app in a foreign country. What you said is very true, thanks for your warning and advice!
    I would say developing your content in the local language and not only in English is a key point that any developer should not ignore.

  2. It’s a real challenge to launch an app in China when you are a foreign developer. Chinese are really good a coding and developing and must know many tricks to launch it more easily than we would.
    So yes, get a partner for the launch of an app in China must be really helpful, and I would even say that it is compulsory! I didn’t launch any of my apps in China but I would definitely ask for help if I decide to someday.

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