The number of Chinese female mobile phone gamers has risen sharply over the last year to 367 million, according to a report by Jiguang (in Chinese). Females now make up 34.6% of China’s gaming community, with the surprise hit Travel Frog boosting the numbers in recent months.

The report examines the data behind women gamers as developers start to pay more serious attention to this market.

There are almost 60 million more female smartphone gamers now–the equivalent of the population of Italy–than in March 2017. Female gamers have an average of 3.77 game apps installed on their phones and the firm favorite is Kaixin Xiao Xiao Le (开心消消乐), similar to Candy Crush but with animal faces.

China female smartphone games
The top ten games among female players over the year. The unit is the app as a percentage of all game apps on female gamers’ phones. (Image credit: Jiguang)

48.8% of female smartphone gamers are in the 16-25 age bracket with the next largest being 37.4% for 26 to 35-year-olds. Perhaps even more revealing is what the data shows about where these players are. Just 6.3% are in China’s 19 first-tier cities and 63% are in third, fourth and fifth tier cities. However, it is not clear if the figures are adjusted for population.

Of the top 250 game-related apps, the biggest category among females are puzzles at 25.6% compared to 21.2% for gamers overall. A category more popular among women than the overall group was management simulation games (think Roller Coaster Tycoon) at 9.6% compared to 4.8%.

Snake Off app
The Snake Off game in the Apple App Store

Kaixin Xiao Xiao Le, released in 2014, is by far the most popular with 68.8% of female gamers having it. But when compared to all the gaming-related apps women gamers use, it has dropped in popularity over the past year. From making up almost 16% of all game-apps to 13.8% by the end of the year after a slight rebound.

Female gamers cities
Comparison of females (left chart) and all users (right) among first to fifth tier cities, top to bottom. (Image credit: Jiguang)

The second most popular game Snake Off (贪吃蛇大作战, a sort of group version of Nokia’s Snake) has dropped from 10% to 4% while Frog Travel has gone from 0 to 4% in just a few weeks since mid-January—all the more impressive as it is in Japanese as there is no Chinese version. This may prove to be a flash in the pan as for February as a whole Travel Frog was only attracting 102,000 new users a day compared to 1.1 million for Kaixin Xiao Xiao Le.

Kaixin Xiao Xiao Le has 27.1 million daily active users, way ahead of Binguo Xiao Xiao Xiao with 5.3 million in second place. Travel Frog is fourth with 3.8 million.

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.