Features of iOS and Android in China (Part 2)

We publish the continuation of the article. See the beginning here.

There are dozens of Android app stores in China right now, and it’s too early to guess which one will win. Preliminary contracts with mobile operators and manufacturers are required.
As already mentioned, in order to get mass sales in China, Google needs to significantly change the control system on the Android Market.

Unlike Apple, which thoroughly checks every app in the store before release, Google does this when the app has already gone on sale. This method is incompatible with the conditions of the Chinese application market, as many local stores, such as Tencent, censor every application, and then start selling it. Google, in order to establish itself in the mobile market of China, will have to introduce a pre-control mode.
Several unofficial stores of paid applications have appeared on the Android Market. But they are unlikely to last long, as Chinese consumers mostly use free apps.
There are so many different app stores and duplicate platforms in China that even the largest Western development companies have to puzzle over how best to distribute their mobile products. Companies such as PopCap Games and Rovio have found the easiest way to the market: they conclude contracts with leading mobile operators and manufacturers to pre-install their applications on devices. For well-known companies, large app stores themselves offer contracts on favorable terms. Companies such as PapayaMobile can help smaller developers in this difficult task.
It is better to choose partners or mobile platforms that cover all 4 payment methods.
Here are the 4 main ways that Chinese consumers use when paying for virtual goods and time in games: prepaid cards, credit cards, mobile and bank transfers.
iOS focuses mainly on credit card payments, but they are not as common in China as in the USA or Europe. Some users buy iTunes prepaid cards on Taobao (a kind of Chinese eBay). Many consumers even hack the OS of mobile devices and install pirated copies of applications. So rule #1: Avoid the pay-per-download business model.
The Beijing-based company Vision Hacker stated: ¾ of iOS users, in order not to pay for the Crows Coming game, used hacked devices. PopCap Games also noted that for every licensed version of the popular game Plants Vs. Zombies, which is sold in iOS stores in China, there are from 5 to 7 pirated copies. In the end, PopCap decided to switch to freemium mode in China.
As for payment methods, Apple will most likely have to introduce new payment methods in the future.

The situation is much more complicated with the Android application market. There are two possible options here. Or Google will establish relations with the Chinese government, local mobile operators and manufacturers, release a phone corresponding to the market with the built-in Android Market and at the same time take care of new payment methods. Or a new leader will appear from a variety of local app stores.

For a more profitable distribution of your applications, it’s a good idea to cooperate with companies such as PapayaMobile. Or you can sign a preliminary contract with local mobile operators, especially if they pay for each copy installed on their device.
Censorship in China is serious.
It’s hard to sell mafia games or gambling games in China. Even zombies (such as Plants Vs. Zombies) are partly banned, as the Chinese government does not welcome scary games. When conducting an advertising campaign in support of Plants Vs. Zombies, PopCap decided to dress zombies in football uniforms so that they look less intimidating.

Chinese censorship is unpredictable (they recently banned the showing of time travel on TV), but many restrictions can be avoided by maintaining good relations with local influential companies.

So bet on proven plots: fun and peaceful games, for example, about cute animals and birds.
Due to smaller market opportunities, distribution and payment systems, Chinese mobile game manufacturers are increasingly working for foreign consumers.
The local mobile market is very small and fragmented, so the average income per customer here is also much lower than in other countries. Many talented developers from China seek to organize a business first in the United States, and then, when they already receive a stable income, they plan to realize their skills and capital in the Chinese mobile market
Western companies such as Rovio and PopCap Games are quite successful in China, but one way or another it is not the main source of profit for them.
Summing up, we can say that China will undoubtedly become a big market for game developers, but it will take a lot of time, patience, as well as a special approach.

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