App downloads from 91 platforms, including 91 Assistant and HiMarket, exceeded 10 billion and daily downloads are 15 million, as disclosed by NetDragon’s earnings report for Q1 2013 and the conference call. You may assume every Chinese company inflates numbers. But what’s indubitable is 91 is one of the most popular app download platforms in China. Chinese users would find that downloading iOS apps through third-party app stores like 91 Assistant takes way less time than directly from Apple’s App Store.

91’s two major revenue sources are mobile games and advertising. The rest is from paid apps including 91 Launcher. It expected to make six to eight million yuan in net revenue in 2013. And it’s a highly profitable business that the management of NetDragon estimated the margin could be 75%-80% for the full year 2013.

NetDragon acquired 91, as an iPhone software managing tool, in 2008. HiMarket and Hiapk, an Android app store and Android-related news site, respectively, were later launched in 2011 to expand to Android market.

Now not only does it have 91 Assistant and HiMarket for users to download iOS and Android apps through smartphone directly or PC, it also has online media, sj.91.com and Hiapk, that would lead users to its app stores.

91 also has developed some apps in house such as 91 Panda for mobile reading and 91 Launcher for custom Android home replacement.

Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com

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