How to Promote iOS Apps To Chinese Market

Let’s face it. We, app developers, keep looking for easy ways to acquire new users. The strategies that require minimum effort and money and considerably increase our audience.

Do these strategies exist?

Sure. For example, pushing your apps to the Chinese market. The number of Apple users is growing. Many competitors concentrate on the USA market only. The situation couldn’t be more favorable!

Major app brands have been promoting their apps to China for some time. Indie devs are mostly afraid to try, or don’t know how to do that.

Our short post has all the information you need to start the expansion.


Which apps are easier to promote

You need to understand that localization into Chinese has a few peculiarities:

1) Phrases in hieroglyphs are very different in length from their English analogues. This may not mix with your current app design;

2) There are two versions of the Chinese language: Simplified Chinese and Standard Chinese (Hong Kong and Taiwan).

Taking all these into consideration we suggest testing Chinese waters with simple apps: casual games, photo editors with an intuitive interface, utilities. In other words, opt for the apps that require no or very basic level of the English knowledge to use them.

How to reach the Chinese audience


Contact Chinese review websites! Unlike reviews on reputable American and British websites that sometimes leave you disappointed bringing very few new users, mentions on Chinese major iOS related media often guarantee a boost in downloads.

Check out this answer on Quora for popular app review websites. By the way, I strongly recommend Quora for first-hand app marketing tips. Signing up is easy. Make sure to follow me and topics like Mobile App Marketing and iOS App Store.

Here are the two Chinese websites that published the reviews of our apps and increased our Chinese audience.

And, of course, you may always spy on your competitors, google the mentions of their apps on Chinese websites and send your pitches there.

What you need to know to promote apps in China

1) Paid apps are not popular in China.

There are many reasons for that. For example, there are lots of pirated services that allow downloading paid apps for free.

When expanding into the new market, your major goal is acquiring audience, profits will come later. Free app is a great way to quickly acquire thousands of Chinese users.

Apps with in-app purchases will do much better in China than paid products.

2) Facebook and Twitter are blocked in China

These major social networking websites are blocked in inland China (excluding Macau and Hong Kong). Of course, users may access them using proxy servers. However, don’t rely on these social networks to reach Chinese audience. Chinese social media is dominated by Sina Weibo – a microblogging website similar to Twitter.

3) Chinese audience will bring you less advertising profit than US, UK, AU and CA

eCPM in China is lower than in the USA. Keep that in mind when forecasting your profits.

How we tried to enter the Chinese market with our apps

Our experience is not much of a success story. However, you may be interested to see some actual figures and examples.

It all started when one Chinese resource reviewed our wallpaper app SCREEN (we didn’t contact the website). On the day of the review and the day after that it got us 2300 Downloads. Before that the app had an average of 40 downloads per day. So the post really made a change. China still accounts for 70% of SCREEN downloads.

After that we sent them a pitch for our paid app Ultramask, and the review request was accepted. We didn’t know back then that promoting paid apps in China was a bad idea. And although the review was favorable, it brought us only 41 downloads.

And one more example. posted the review of our game Iceberg Tower. It brought us 1200 downloads around the day of the review and Chinese users still make up the majority of the game’s audience.

As you may see, the reviews on Chinese websites may bring a considerable audience boost. That’s not always the case with popular American review websites.

So is it worth pushing your apps to the Chinese market? Sure. It never hurts to send your app pitch to a few more websites, and it always feels good to discover new audience for your apps.

Want to get more actionable tips? Keep coming back to our blog. Or! Sign up for our soon coming, absolutely free and very promising user engagement service for app publishers – AppDK.

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