Now everyone knows there’re dozens of Android stores in China and the biggest stores are run by Tencent, Baidu, Qihoo, Xiaomi and Wandoujia. And promoting apps or acquiring users has become very expensive.

There are apparently legal ways to get or buy Android app installs or active users in China. App developers can buy pre-installations through mobile device manufacturers, telecom operators (They make custom Android phones by partnering with manufacturers), device distributors or retailers (They’d make sure consumers can’t tell that devices before being sold have been tampered with.), Android ROM porting stores, etc. Also they can turn to those Android app stores or other marketing services.

As competition in mobile app market heated up, Chinese app developers would come up with various shady tricks to get users or pay increasingly higher prices to third parties who use the same tricks or have created more astonishing methods.

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Tracey Xiang

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