Launch Your Mobile App Behind China’s ‘Great Firewall’

We’ve seen a big uptake in China mobile app distribution requests since China breezed by the United States to become the world’s largest smartphone market. Explosive user growth is just one part of the story.

With an expected 500 million smartphones in China predicted by the end of 2014—twice the number of smartphone users in the United States—there’s a tremendous opportunity, no doubt. Mobile app devs finally have their eyes open to it.

Even more telling though: Western developers tell us it’s not getting any easier to break into the China mobile app market. Try launching an app in China on your own and you’ll come across a bucket load of issues.

 Top 5 China mobile market challenges

 1. Over 200 app stores. Identifying the best app marketplaces with the widest reach takes time. Then you have to set up individual accounts, plus integrate proprietary SDKs for each into your app to enable payment and advertising. It’s an incredible amount of work.

2. No love for Google Play. Most OEMs don’t preload Google Play, and it’s not formally available in China. That means you need to: 1) Consider an alternate app upgrade mechanism and 2) ensure global updates through Google Play don’t overwrite the China version of your app. My head hurts just thinking about it.

3. Getting paid. China has dozens of ad networks and you need an account with each, making it difficult to collect your cut of ad revenue and in-app purchases.

4. China’s Great Firewall.  Apps hosted outside of China often perform unreliably, and nothing turns off users more than unstable, unpredictable service.

5. Social integration. Nearly a billion Chinese use social media (mostly on mobile), but not Facebook or Twitter, which are blocked by the government. More than a few social networks—some closed, some open—have over 100 million users. Oh, and platforms open to integration with the West provide their API documentation in Chinese. Can’t read it? You’re out of luck.

Kii to China

Western developers are ultimately left with one choice: find a local partner to navigate the market, along with its regulations, one who handles hosting, app store submissions, localization, app upgrades and payments while helping to protect your intellectual property. Many have turned to Kii as this partner since we know the market inside and out, and have a team on the ground in Shanghai.

To streamline the process, we’ve introduced Kii to China, a suite of app publishing services that can be purchased as a package or a la carte.

Typically, Kii to China gets mobile apps live in China in less than 3 weeks.

Services include hosting on Kii Cloud China, localization, app store selection and submissions, ad mediation, revenue collection, payment settlements, China social network integration and in-app analytics. Most functionality is provided right in the Kii to China SDK, and you can easily monitor your app metrics, ads by network and more in the Kii to China web portal. Be sure to check it out if launching an app in China is something you’re interested in. We’re here to help.

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Yuan Weigel

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