China needs Android or Android needs China?

David Chun's picture

It has been a busy week as there were 2 key mobile conferences held in Beijing last week: TechCrunch Disrupt Beijing and CSDN (Chinese Software Developer Network, the largest IT and mobile software developer community in China). With the blooming Chinese mobile market, it has attracted huge crowd of few thousand attendees from all part of China and overseas, making them two of the most successful industry event this year for sharing, networking and sparking new business ideas, co-operations and opportunities. You can really feel the vibrant mobile ecosystem, conversations along the hallway, new startups showcasing their innovations, VCs scouting for investment opportunities. It absolutely feels great to see things happening everywhere!!

This year’s Techcrunch covered a lot of hot topics, eg Android in China, Startups in China, Challenges for overseas companies to be successful in China, and of course with lots of sharing from successful companies like Rivio, Skype, YouTube, etc. However among all, one panel discussion topic really caught my attention: “Android needs China? Or China needs Android? ”

Panelists include representatives from Google, VCs, Incubation Center all acknowledge Android’s openness ( and free) has enabled Chinese OEMs/ODMs to adopt and build different devices with unique features, thus creates an attractive market size needed for application developers to invest and build more innovative services and applications on top. This sounds very logical but however in reality, there are no so many developers under the current Android ecosystem that really make much money from download. But why?? Reason is simple; consumers here are used to enjoy freebies on software applications!! With more than 60 Android appstore in China who all compete fiercely against each other, few of them will charge for any applications download. So who will make money?

In my opinion, likely will be Chinese chipset vendors who can offer low priced turnkey solutions will make the fist buck because of the hardware demand; then are those game developers (especially online games) generating huge revenue thru in-game purchases; and last but not least mobile advertisement either implanted within the apps or LBS related.

However I have been thinking, will it be easier or quicker for developers to make money if there are only 1 Android Appstore, as similar to the Apple Appstore.

What do u think?


Gabor Paller's picture

These 60 appstores are interesting. Initially the Google Appstore was a little more than a prototype and it was expected that others would build _the_ professional appstores. This did not happen, users converged on Google's appstore and ignored alternatives. Eventually Google noticed it and started to improve its own appstore (tying very profitable services to it like in-app billing).

Why isn't this convergence happening in China? OK, China is big but the rest of the world is big too.

David Chun's picture

it will prob converge eventually with a few strong players survive, prob in 12 months' time. Now is the uphill path, so we see appstores mushroom everywhere.

It is a common phenomenon in China that everybody rushes to do similar business when they see potentials, with the belief that the winner takes it all that kind of attitude..And simply when translating "takes it ALL" into real business, this mean huge successes..thats tempting enough :)

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