Apps are big business in China.
Currently, China accounts for an incredible 40% of global app spending. The Chinese market is predicted to spend up to 62.4 billion dollars in China app stores in 2022 and download more apps than any other country in the world.
For app developers and marketers, the Chinese audience is not one to ignore.
But how do you get your app into a Chinese app store? And how do you make sure it appeals to your target market?
It’s all about localizing your app and its content.
To tell you everything you need to know, here’s our complete guide to app store optimization for the Chinese market.
An intro to China app stores
App stores in China operate a little differently from in other markets. Here’s a quick rundown of how iOS and Android users in China go about downloading apps.
The Apple app store is available for Chinese iOS users. They can open up the store and download apps just like they would in any other country.
The snag? Android dominates the mobile market in China, with a 76% market share. The number of people using iOS lags way behind.
So if you really want to make a splash with your app, you need to make it available to Android users too.
Google Play doesn’t officially work over in China. Instead, app marketers need to make use of over 200 Chinese Android app stores — all with their own features and way of operating.
Luckily, you don’t have to focus your attention on all 200. Around 20 Android app stores cover pretty much 90% of the market.
Some of the most popular include Myapp, 360 Mobile Assistant, Baidu Market and Huawei App Market.
ASO best practices for China app stores
So what can you do to get your app noticed in the Chinese market? Here are a few best practices to follow.
If you’re translating an existing app for a Chinese audience, get a pro translator on your team.
App titles that are translated directly from English are often confusing for Chinese readers. Also, be careful when using phonetic translations. The end result can sound clunky or even convey negative connotations.
Often, the best approach is to create a new title that reveals a core feature of your app.
Something else to bear in mind is title length. As a rule of thumb, all app titles should be five Chinese characters or less. This makes your title easier to pronounce and to remember – which can impact the number of downloads.
Working with someone who understands both the language and culture of China is paramount if you’re to create a title that attracts clicks.
Text & language
Chinese text is more concise than that of western languages. It takes up less space on the page, but the characters are often complex so a large font size is recommended to ensure readability.
Just make sure when writing descriptions or subtitles that you don’t go over the character limit. This varies depending on which China app store you’re using.
And when it comes to translation, don’t leave any stone unturned. Titles, descriptions, text over images, error messages and feedback requests should all be carefully translated by an expert translator.
This will help to prevent a disconnect between your app and its intended audience.
To get your app seen by users you have to include relevant keywords in your app title, subtitle and description.
Finding and implementing the right keywords for your app and your target market will improve ranking and download rate.
Use Chinese keyword finder tools and stay up to date with what the competition is doing to get ahead.
Then, once your app is up and running, use China app store analytics to find out how Chinese users are actually searching and arriving at your app. This knowledge will help to hone your keyword strategy further.
An overly wordy app description won’t win over your market. Chinese app users prefer succinct bullet points to long paragraphs.
Also, include social proof of your app’s success if you can. Infographic style stats on awards received, the number of app users and any other useful app info tend to be well received.
You can go one better and include images instead of reams of text. A video of your app in action or a collection of screenshots will say more than a written description ever could.
The Chinese market tends to favor bright and cluttered imagery. This is no place for the minimalism championed by brands like Apple.
High saturation is a must. Also avoid colors like black, white, brown or grey as these have negative associations in Chinese culture.
The best performing apps in China feature a character as part of the icon — even when a storyline or characters doesn’t form the core of what the app offers — so try to work one in if you can.
Including a social sharing function in your app screenshots is an effective way to promote your app in China. This makes your app visible and searchable on Chinese search engines.
You can also use popular Chinese websites and social media platforms to market your app and generate more traffic. Baidu, Tencent and WeChat are some of the biggest networks in China and they offer a range of great marketing tools.
Need help getting your app seen on China app stores?
The Chinese app market is extremely lucrative. But it can be hard for non-Chinese speakers to navigate.
That’s where an agency like AdChina.io comes in. We help international brands reach a Chinese audience and really maximize their online presence in China.
When it comes to apps, our experienced Chinese team will localize your app content, conduct relevant market research and provide support with promotion and marketing too.
Want to try our services for free? Check the size of your target audience in China and sample a full range of app launch features by creating a free AdChina.io account.