While Chinese smartphone suppliers have reported a decrease in sales for the first time, the country’s internet user base continues to grow, with around 772 million internet users (97% smartphone users) at last count.
In 2017, the revenue generated by apps in China reached US$35 billion, making it the biggest and highest grossing app market in the world, growing by 270% year-on-year.
As a result of this growth, the market in major Chinese cities has reached a level of maturity that is allowing developers to make vast amounts of income directly from apps. However, the shift from desktop/laptop to mobile devices is still in progress in smaller second and third-tier cities, which means the market still hasn’t reached its full growth potential.
Despite Apple hardware’s recent upturn in fortunes, when it comes to software, Android-powered devices continue to dominate the Chinese smartphone market. While Google explores a potential censored version of the Play Store in partnership with NetEase, local tech powerhouses (Tencent, Alibaba, Qihoo, Baidu) and smartphone suppliers (Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo/Vivo) have maintained a firm grasp of Android app market share in China.
AppInChina’s 2018 Q1 app store rankings show that Tencent MyApp (腾讯应公宝) continues to reign supreme with the highest MAU (monthly active users), followed by Qihoo 360 Mobile Assistant (360手机助手) and Oppo Software Store (OPPO软件商店), while the infamous “Great Firewall” has finally caused the Google Play Store to drop out of the top 10 altogether.
- Tencent MyApp (15.12%)
Tencent MyApp has solidified its position as China’s most popular Android app store, ranking 1st for all 3 months in Q1.
- 360 Mobile Assistant (10.60%)
Similar to Tencent MyApp, Qihoo 360 Mobile Assistant has maintained its stranglehold on 2nd place, further strengthening Qihoo’s continued influence on software.
- Oppo Software Store (9.24%)
Following the rise in popularity of Oppo hardware, their Software Store has now become the most influential smartphone-supplier app store, overtaking fierce rivals Huawei and Xiaomi.
- Baidu Mobile Assistant (8.55%)
Baidu’s core focus has firmly transitioned away from mobile, with their MAU gradually dropping below 9% over the past 3 months.
- Huawei App Market (8.28%)
Fresh off the news of a potential Huawei operating system to rival Android in the near future, Huawei App Market has maintained its spot in the top 5, resisting competition from Xiaomi and Vivo.
- MIUI App Store (6.28%)
As Xiaomi’s Game Center grows in popularity in the Chinese mobile gaming world, their MIUI App Store has been heading the other way, with their monthly active user base falling to just above 6%.
- Vivo App Store (4.81%)
Vivo’s continued marketing push has allowed the Oppo sister brand to step out its shadow and attract a growing user base to their own app store, consistently ranking just outside the top 5.
- PP Assistant (1.98%)
PP Assistant, acquired by Alibaba as part of the UCWeb merger in 2014, has now become their most prominent app store ahead of Wandoujia and their flagship Taobao Mobile Assistant.
- HiMarket (0.72%)
After starting out as 91 Wireless’ Android subsidiary, Baidu-owned HiMarket has established itself as a major player in the Android app market and helped pick up some of Baidu Mobile Assistant’s slack.
- Anzhi Market (0.50%)
Anzhi Market managed to fight off Alibaba-owned Wandoujia and the 3 main Chinese network providers (China Unicom, China Mobile, and China Telecom) and is the only traditional third-party app store on the list.