Shlomo Freund has been in China for less than two years. He decided to build a business helping Android apps which want to enter China market but are not able to do so after his friends back in Israel asked him about China’s Android app market.
Freund is a serial entrepreneur. Before coming to China, his last project in Israel was a tech incubator. After arriving in China in late 2011, he set up a personal blog, Start Up Noodle, trying to help expats in China do startups.
His app business, also called Start Up Noodle, was launched early this month. The team of three includes Freund’s long-time business partner.
It now provides entry level services, creating accounts on Android stores and language localization. Three packs of offerings are priced depending on how many or which stores they want their apps to get onto. The team has selected 20 Android markets, from the top independent ones to those ran by telecom operators, Internet service providers or smartphone makers. Freund said more services such as marketing will be added later on.
App distribution market in China has been very crowded and complicated. It is estimated that there are more than a half million apps by local developers on those Android app stores. Also, as Baidu CEO Robin Li pointed out yesterday that they found 99.9% apps only made up 30% of total downloads while the 0.1% — be it WeChat, Weibo and very few others — have a 70% share, it’s very hard for new apps to stand out.
Buying ad placements on Android app stores is far from enough. Some choose to hire third-party agencies or employees to do social marketing on Weibo, WeChat and other platforms. More recently some even were focused on WeChat wishing to get traction there and convert audiences into their app users.
There are also ways that are considered more efficient in China. 1. Paying smartphone manufacturers to pre-install your apps; 2. paying stores who sell smartphones or help port Android ROMs to install your apps into customers’ phones when needed. Or in some dirty ways.
Big Chinese companies with huge user base even have to do some of those mentioned above.
As always, there are foreign companies that want to enter the notorious China market. Bigger app developers like Flipboard have set up China offices. Smaller ones like Cooliris are partnering with big local platforms to gain users and working with them from their home countries.
Who does Start Up Noodle plan to help are not of the two categories but those having no idea about China market. It must sound attractive to developers outside China to have their apps on top Android stores in China with a combined audience of hundreds of millions with several hundred dollars. Freund said he’d help his friends in Israel first wishing more people around the world to know about his service.
But it’s really easy to set up such a business — you only need to learn about the registration process of every store, and read Chinese or hire people who can read Chinese. If this market can accommodate several dozens of Android app stores, how many services like Start Up Noodle will be?