China’s mobile app industry was brewing in 2017, a new research from Jiguang Data released on Tuesday has shown (in Chinese). The report titled 2017 Mobile Internet Industry Inventory App List has brought insights into which of China’s top 1000 mobile apps caught users’ attention during this year. The list was compiled according to market penetration rates.

Here are some of the highlights from the report:

1. Among the top 1000 apps in 2017, 78% were on the list the previous year. Among the newcomers in 2017 were video apps Huoshan (火山小视频) and Tik Tok (a.k.a. Douyin, 抖音), mobile games Wildland Ops (荒野行动) and Tongzhou (同桌游戏), as well as 220 other apps. WeChat predictably topped the list in 2017.

Top 50 apps in China according to market penetration. (Image credit: JIguang Data)

2. In Q4 of 2017, the average mobile internet user had 40 apps installed on their phone. In December, each person downloaded 4.13 apps on average and removed 3.42 apps.

Above: The number of average apps installed on mobile phones in China. Below: The number of average app downloads (left) and removals (right) in December 2017 (Image credit: Jiguang Data)

3. The average mobile internet user spent 4.2 hours a day using apps each day. Social network apps took more than 2.5 hours, while users watched video close to 30 minutes a day, spent 12 minutes getting news and information, 11 minutes to do their shopping, and around 10 minutes playing games.

Time spent on apps from top to bottom: social, video, news, shopping, gaming, music, travel, reading, financial, lifestyle (Image credit: Jiguan Data)

4. The favorite app for men was dating app turned live streaming platform Momo (陌陌), while women’s favorite app was photo editing app MeituPic (美图秀秀).

Age was a deciding factor in app preferences too. Users under 15 years of age (middle school and primary school) used apps that help with homework and so did users between the ages of 36 to 45, their parents. Those in the 16 to 25 age bracket preferred playing mobile games such as Honor of Kings.

Location also mattered. Users in 1st tier cities downloaded mobility apps such as DiDi, ofo, and Mobike, while 3rd tier cities saw an increase in P2P financial service apps usage.

Top apps according to gender, age, and location of users. (Image credit: Jiguang Data)

5. Bike rental app ofo, shopping platform Pinduoduo (拼多多), and Minecraft’s app saw the highest increase in market penetration compared to the previous year reaching up to 1000% year on year growth. Mobike and social app Paipai (派派) saw a 400% growth.

Apps with highest YoY market penetration growth (Image credit: Jiguang Data)

6. ByteDance’s music video and social platform Tik Tok increased the number of their daily active users (DAU) by more than 1000 times. The rise was impressive considering Toutiao’s parent company launched the app in September 2017. It then proceeded to purchase its global rival in October 2017.

Among other stars in terms of DAU were Tencent’s office tool TIM and video app Huoshan.

Top Chinese apps according to DAU (Image credit: Jiguang Data)

7. The biggest loss in market penetration and DAU was recorded by China selfie champion Meitus BeautyCam (美颜相机) caused by the rise of FaceU and Line’s selfie app B612.

8. The top 3 mobile games in terms of market penetration all belonged to Tencent: the massively popular Honor of Kings, Happyxiaoxiaole ( 开心消消乐), and card game Landlord War (欢乐斗地主).

Masha Borak is a technology reporter based in Beijing. Write to her at masha.borak [at] Pitches with the word "disruptive" will be ignored. Read a good book - learn some more adjectives.

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