China is now Apple’s largest market in terms of App Store revenue.
According to a new report by the analytics firm App Annie, China accounted for over $1.7 billion in revenue from the iOS App Store in the third quarter of this year. That’s enough for the country to overtake the U.S., which had been the top market for iOS apps since 2010. The U.S. is now the No. 2 market, trailing China by 15 percentage points, with Japan in third place.
As it turned out, from just two years prior to the third quarter of 2016, the spending of Chinese App Store customers increased by more than five times. Unsurprisingly, they did most of their spending on games. Games aside, entertainment and social networking were the top categories by revenue in China, boosted as they were by the growing popularity of in-app subscriptions, particularly for video streaming, in such apps.
Given that China is now the top App Store market, it would only be wise for developers and publishers to spare no effort in making their apps more attractive to and effective for Chinese consumers, starting with localization and extending to more nuanced cultural considerations.
As for Apple, this development augurs well for the company’s business in China, which has been in a somewhat precarious state given the closing by Chinese regulators of its iBooks and iTunes movie stores in April and the sliding sales of iPhones attributed to the saturation of the Chinese smartphone market.