China continues to lead the way for mobile app innovation and adoption. As of February 2021, there were 1.59 billion mobile subscriptions and a staggering 681.7 million mobile gamers in China. China also leads the way for revenue – producing 35% of all gaming revenue. Most game publishers located outside of China won’t have the knowledge or available resources to overcome the barriers and make an entry on their own. With a market this enticing yet unique, global developers need to ensure they adapt their approach in order to find success there, with a focus on three key areas.
As with any market, the Chinese app stores are hyper-competitive, and games that don’t get everything right will often be ignored. The better your localization and ASO strategy, the more chance you have of success. Language translation is the obvious starting point for any developer looking to localize their game. It’s paramount that gameplay is translated in an informal manner and language which resonates with your demographic. In addition to this, localization also means including culturally adapted content, something the developer’s in-house team might not be privy to. Some examples include adapting in-game graphics to reflect local preferences, local background music, or changing content that could be seen as culturally offensive or prohibited under Chinese policy. From an advertising perspective, don’t forget to localize your ads with the same level of scrutiny. Creativity, testing, and an understanding of the market are key to your success.
Understand the gaming culture and monetize accordingly
Developers should think about their monetization strategies long before entering. Don’t just simply port over the same tried and true methods that worked in Europe or North America. Integrating payment mechanisms such as Alipay and WeChat Pay will prove popular with your users. Lastly, spending habits need to be understood and factored in. China has over 600 cities, all of which are categorized into a certain tier based on their size, demographics, economic power, and importance. So for any developer that’s serious about building an audience in China, it’s important to understand how the inhabitants of cities in different tiers play their games and from which app stores or platforms.
Navigating a foreign market
As Google doesn’t have a presence in Mainland China, the Android market is extremely difficult to navigate as a foreign developer. With over 400 Android stores in China, the market is very large and fragmented, so a targeted distribution strategy is vital for anyone entering the Chinese mobile market. Sourcing a local partner is a requirement by law, and so should be high up on the list of priorities for anyone hoping to launch their app in China.
Thanks to its massive user base, impressive mobile infrastructure, and growing spending power, China can be an incredible opportunity – provided you adjust your strategies accordingly. There isn’t a better time for developers and publishers outside of China to work with a local expert that knows how the market works and can help them navigate complex legislation. Contact Nativex today to find out more about how to enter the Chinese market and build a localization strategy that helps you attract the world’s largest gaming population.