Asia becoming the #1 market for Android app developers – how to position yourselves properly

By the end of 2013, Android had captured an impressive 81 percent of the global smartphone market share, demonstrating the growing relevance of the Android platform for any app developer. If we investigate that data more closely, we can see that developing markets are driving this positive trend. While Western countries like the USA and the United Kingdom are already experiencing high smartphone adoption and mobile app consumption rates, and are nearing saturation, countries like the UAE, Brazil, India, China, and Japan are driving smartphone figures upwards, something which goes double for Android.

In the Distimo report titled “Asia: The Leading App Market in the World”, findings show how big of a force Asia has become in the mobile app space. Numbers of smartphone shipments to Asia are not as impressive as the numbers showing app revenue changes.  Total app revenue increased by 162% from last year (as compared to North America’s 46%), which is due to Google Play downloads quadrupling since December of 2012.

Most of you are probably expecting China to be behind that revenue data, but that isn’t the case.  Japan, a land of many technical innovations and mobile gaming lovers, is leading in this revenue match, with South Korea and China falling behind.  Reaching Japan outside Google and iOS stores is now possible with low CAPEX if you are looking at the opportunities created by ¥Coins, a new virtual currency becoming increasingly popular in Japan.   Although Google Play is enough to make your Android app worthwhile in certain places, you should think twice when it comes to Asia.

Many mobile network operators are influencing and shaping the app market by creating their own app stores to ensure optimal positioning in the value chain and gain additional revenue streams. Some top mobile gaming companies like GREE and DeNa are doing the same, promoting their own app stores. Being a part of these, locally popular app stores, is very important if you want to be noticed in Asia.

The rising number of device manufacturers originating from Asia offers the possibility to preload an app on their phones prior to shipment. Making that kind of deal could mean the world to an international app developer. Deals like the one Infobip recently made with Rolltech on their Ay+ platform, can get your app preloaded on 80 million devices across developing countries with a simple, in-app payment option already provided.

Fragmented app distribution is just one of the challenges you will have to face in Asia. There is an issue of local payment options that are far more popular than any other payment method and supported throughout different app stores. In order to have great penetration and conversion rates, you need to make the best combination of available payment methods. Infobip data shows that in some countries (like Vietnam and Thailand) including top-up cards and mWallets to your payment options can significantly boost your revenue.

If you’re thinking Asia, you should also think about making an optimal combination of your app availability, monetisation and, of course, promotion. Infobip can help you with all these aspects of your business, all the while keeping your initial investment low.  

Want to know more about opportunities in Asia? Contact us for more details or schedule a meeting at Mobile World Congress, we'll be there.   

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