TouchPal Keyboard, a mobile text input solution by Chinese developer CooTek, announced 200 registered users today. It’s been only two months since it announced 170 million registered users.
The rapid growth of installs must be largely driven by the fact that the company has been working with Android phone makers including Sumsang, Sony and the Chinese, HTC, Xiaomi, Huawei and ZTE. The licensing fee has been CooTek’s major revenue source.
But the company said they have stopped charging licensing fees in overseas markets, hoping to build a huge user base first and then monetize it — a very Chinese model that has been proven by Internet companies such as Qihoo.
The company has rolled out a local service platform and search service in China, planning to leverage users and data collected on TouchPal Contacts, a caller identification app and one of the first apps by the company. It is expected CooTek will be able to make revenues through advertising and search marketing from local merchants. That’s one of the ways to monetize a user base gained from a free product.
A flock of Chinese mobile apps expanding overseas are practising the monetization approach. Most are now at the stage of building user base through apps ranging from Android launcher to lock screen app. A few like Sungy Mobile, an Android launcher developer, are at the second stage that are monetizing users through advertising and paid content/services such as mobile games.
Launched in November 2011 at TechCrunch Disrupt Beijing, TouchPal has been more popular in outside China — China’s text input market has been dominated by Sogou Input whose solution for PC was launched way back in 2006. It’s available in more than 80 languages that cover over 120 countries and regions around the world.
About 90% of TouchPal’s installs are from outside China — 25% from the U.S., 18% from Europe, 8% from Russia, 6% from the Philippines and 5% from Indonesia as of June 2014, according to the company.
Shortly after Apple released iOS 8, which for the first time allows for third-party keyboards, in the past June, CooTek developed TouchPal Keyboard for iOS.