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Five Ways That Asia-Pacific Countries Lead the West in Apps

Consumers in China and India demand apps—lots of apps

January 19, 2017 | Mobile

Smartphone users in Asia-Pacific are leaning hard towards apps. That's one of the takeaways from the "App Annie 2016 Retrospective" report, published this week by the app analytics and data company. Here are five notable items about app usage in Asia-Pacific.

No. 1: App Users in China Enjoy Variety

iPhone users in China used an average of almost 40 apps per month, more than those in India, South Korea, Brazil, the US, Japan and the UK, the App Annie report found. This is especially interesting given WeChat's evolution in China from a messaging app to something that more closely resembles a self-contained mobile operating system. Will WeChat's recently launched miniprograms feature have an effect on the average number of apps employed by smartphone users in China?

No. 2: Android Users in India Download at a Furious Pace

Smartphone penetration in India remains relatively low. It's estimated by eMarketer at just 20.8% this year. But given the sheer size of the country's population, that equates to 305.7 million smartphone users. That helps explain why App Annie found that India was the top market for app downloads via the Google Play store in 2016, surpassing the US for the first time. Consumers in India downloaded 6.2 billion apps via Google play last year, up from 3.6 billion in 2015. And Indian users spent nearly 150 billion hours collectively on their apps.

No. 3: iOS App Publishers Cleaning up in China

China has proven to be a lucrative market for developers using Apple's App Store. The report found that iOS app publishers had generated more than $2 billion in revenue in China in Q4 2016 alone. The lure of the iPhone appears to be fading in China in the face of an onslaught of competition from domestic manufacturers. But the relatively high expense of the device may mean that consumers who bought it also have the disposable income to spend on apps. In addition, the app store sector for Android devices in China remains highly fractured thanks to Google Play's effective absence in the market.

No. 4: Homegrown Video Apps Dominate in China

While YouTube and Netflix are among the top five video streaming apps in both the US and the UK, they don't even factor into consideration in China, where regulatory hurdles have stopped both platforms from making any progress. Instead, China's top video streaming app is Youku, which is followed closely by Baidu's iQiyi service, then Tencent Video, LeTV and bilibili. China's video platforms were once a haven for pirated content, but after a crackdown by the government most have moved into licensing content from studios or are laying the groundwork to monetize user generated content. The revenue generated by China's top three video streaming apps still trailed that of the US.

No. 5: Japan and China Lead Game Monetization

Japan leads the list of countries examined by App Annie in terms of mobile game revenue. According to the report, the average revenue per user (ARPU) for top 30 app games in Japan more than $30 per month in Q4 2016, while China's ARPU for its own list of top 30 games was almost $25. The US has not yet cracked the formula for generating as much money from games; its ARPU figure was less than $15.

—Rahul Chadha

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