As the local authority’s rigorous online clean-up grabs all of the headlines, China’s rural internet explosion continues at a phenomenal rate, with the number of rural internet users reportedly reaching 209 million (35% penetration rate) in the last 12 months.

The effect of this internet empowerment is well and truly being felt on mobile, as it’s estimated that 55 million people in rural areas use their phones to live-stream classes, 78 million read the news from the 3 primary news apps and there are 175 million users of short-video apps in these areas.

And this growth potential isn’t only a driving force for local Chinese tech powerhouses (Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu etc.), as proven by Google’s recent strategic re-entry into the market. Now that Google has one foot back on the ladder, the big question is will Tencent and the other major players be able to maintain their stranglehold on the app market if Google launches a China-friendly version of the Play Store in the 2nd half of the year.

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Antony Chang

Antony Chang is the Marketing Manager at AppInChina, who's been living between Shenzhen, Taipei and Beijing for over 8 years. He uses his experience in the Chinese app industry to help foreign apps optimize...