25 most popular apps in China [Tencent Dominates]

Most popular apps in China

Trustdata has once again released their report detailing the top 200 apps in the Chinese mobile app store during the month of October, 2019. Do you think Google, YouTube, and Facebook will make an appearance? How do they rank compared to Chinese platforms such as WeChat, DouYin (Tik Tok), Baidu, and Weibo?

You may not find any major shocks in the top 10, especially if you’re familiar with the app landscape in China. That said, some apps have crept in further down the list which might surprise you!

Wait, haven’t I seen this list before?
Possibly one similar — We update this article monthly as new data is released about the app store in China.

That way it’s all kept up to date!

Chinese app store advertising

Unfamiliar with any of the Chinese social media or marketing related apps? Learn more here.

As expected, WeChat takes the first place. With over 1 billion active users each month, the ‘super app’ boasts a laundry list of features that would require dozens of apps to achieve otherwise. Because of this, it has long been the dominant force in the Chinese app market. Likewise, the most popular Chinese social media, search tools, payment systems, and marketplaces round out the rest of the top 10.

Chinese Mobile App Store — Top Apps Breakdown

  1. WeChat — Tencent | Social media | 1024 MAU ↑ 0.73%
    WeChat, or Weixin as it is called in China, is the most “social” social media in the world! Like no other app, it uniquely supports so many aspects of Chinese daily life for over one billion monthly users. Over 90% of those users access it daily.

  2. QQ — Tencent | Social media | 709 MAU ↓ -0.64%
    QQ is an instant messaging service and web portal. QQ offers a range of services including online social games, music, shopping, microblogging, movies, plus group and voice chat software.

  3. AliPay — Alibaba Group | FinTech | 697 MAU ↓ -0.27%
    AliPay is a third-party mobile and online payment platform, founded in 2004. Since then it has become the world’s number one mobile payment service, and the world’s second largest payment service.

  4. TaoBao — Alibaba Group | Mobile eCommerce | 690 MAU ↑ 3.70%
    TaoBao is an online shopping website run by Alibaba. It is the world’s biggest e-commerce website and according to Alexa data, the eighth most visited website.

  5. DouYin — ByteDance | Video | 376 MAU ↑ 3.03%
    DouYin is a video-sharing social networking service. Users create and share short lip-sync, comedy, and talent videos. Known as TikTok outside China, both versions are run on separate servers to ensure DouYin complies with Chinese censorship restrictions.

  6. Baidu — Baidu | Utility | 299 MAU ↓ -2.81%
    Baidu is a tech company specialising in search and web services and artificial intelligence. In fact, it’s one of the largest AI and internet companies in the world. Baidu’s search engine is the fourth largest website by Alexa ranking.

  7. Pinduoduo — Colin Huang | Shopping | 266 MAU ↑ 4.90%
    Pinduoduo is an e-commerce platform allowing users to participate in group buying deals. Products include groceries, home appliances, and everything in between, purchased as a team (group) to reduce cost.

  8. iQiyi — Baidu | Video | 253 MAU ↑ 3.94%
    iQiyi is one of the largest online video platforms in the world. Users spend approximately 6 billion hours watching video content on iQiyi each month.

  9. Weibo — Sina Corp | Blogs | 253 MAU ↑ 0.19%
    Weibo, meaning ‘microblog’ in Chinese, is like a hybrid of Facebook and Twitter. Weibo is an open and public platform, allowing greater potential for exposure, outreach, communication, trend-spotting, and entertainment.

  10. WiFi Master Key — LinkSure Network | Utilities | 228 MAU ↓ -0.17%
    WiFi Master Key is the world’s first and largest peer-to-peer Wi-Fi sharing platform for free WiFi access. The app leverages the sharing economy, cloud computing, and big data to provide users with a safe and free connection shared by Wi-Fi hosts around the world.

  11. Toutiao — ByteDance | News | 225 MAU ↓ -2.87%
    Toutiao is a news and information content platform. It uses an algorithm to analyse the features of content, users, and those users’ interaction with content, to generate a tailored news feed list for each user.

  12. QQ Browser — Tencent | Utilities | 218 MAU ↑ 2.65%
    QQ Browser is one of the most popular browsers in China. It is based on the chromium web browser and offers features such as tabbed windows and integration with other chat platforms.

  13. Kwai — Tencent | Video | 212 MAU ↑ 2.28%
    Known as Kwai in China, Kuaishou is a video sharing app. Kwai has become popular in other markets too, topping the Google Play and Apple App Store “most downloaded” lists in eight other countries.

  14. Tencent Video — Tencent | Video | 207 MAU ↑ 0.76%
    Tencent is a video streaming website boasting approximately 100 million subscribers. It supports online VOD and TV broadcasts, color quality adjustment, and other features.

  15. KuGou — Tencent | Music | 183 MAU ↑ 1.47%
    KuGou is a music streaming and download platform created in 2004. Now the largest music streaming service in the world, KuGou also has the greatest marketshare in the online music space within China, at 28%.

  16. UC Browswer — Alibaba Group | Utilities | 151 ↑ MAU 2.69%
    UC Browser was developed by the Singapore/China-based mobile Internet company UCWeb, owned by the Alibaba Group. It’s even bigger than Google Chrome in some of Asia’s fastest-growing regions such as India and Indonesia.

  17. Tencent News — Tencent | News | 141 MAU ↑ 1.16%
    Tencent News is one of the leading news-apps of China. Tencent News content is also released via QQ, where it is complemented with other services.

  18. YouKu — Alibaba Group | Video | 132 MAU ↑ 1.04%
    YouKu is a video hosting service. It operates as a subsidiary of Alibaba Group. The app is best understood as a hybrid of YouTube and Netflix.

  19. YingYongBao — Tencent | App Management | 122 ↑ MAU 3.98%
    YingYongBao is a major Android app store and app management tool. It has been instrumental in shaping China’s recent economic and social life. While it is an app in its it’s own right, it primarily facilitates distribution and sale of other apps.

  20. Meituan — Meituan Dianping | Lifestyle | 120 MAU ↑ 0.83%
    Meituan is a group-buying website for local food delivery services, consumer products, and retail services. Founded in 2010, the site offers daily deals by selling vouchers on local services and entertainment.

  21. Amap — Alibaba Group | Map | 115 MAU ↑ 1.16%
    Amap belongs to AutoNavi Software Co, a web mapping, navigation and location-based services provider, founded in 2001. It was acquired by Alibaba Group in 2014.

  22. JD — Pentland Group | Shopping | 115 MAU ↑ 0.11%
    JD, also known as Jingdong (formerly 360buy), is a Fortune 500 e-commerce company. It is one of the two largest B2C online retailers in China by transaction volume and revenue.

  23. iXiGua — ByteDance | Video | 105 MAU ↑ 0.90%
    iXiGua offers personal recommendations for video content to its 300+ million users. It has over 4 billion average daily video views and over 70 minutes of daily per capita use.

  24. Tencent Mobile Manager — Tencent | Utilities | 102 MAU ↑ 0.65%
    Tencent Mobile Manager offers various security options for apps. Based on Tencent’s technical experience in over 1.2 billion mobile devices, Mobile Security offers various services such as app reinforcement, security assessment, and compatibility testing for a range of industries.

  25. 360 Security — Qihoo 360 | Utilities | 101 MAU ↑ 0.28%
    360 Security was developed by internet security company Qihoo 360. Qihoo 360 has more than 700 million users for its Mobile Antivirus products.

The biggest moves within the top 10 were iQiyi narrowly overtaking Weibo from last month, and Qihoo 360’s 360 Security app managing to push Toutiao out of the top 10.

International marketers often wonder whether familiar giants such as Facebook and Google are relevant in China. It might come as a surprise but both Google and Facebook have around 14 million users in China. That’s particularly impressive considering that access is restricted.

However, on the list of top apps in China, Google only ranks at #117, Facebook does slightly better at #108, and Facebook Messenger comes in at #138. Compared to China’s top apps, these international giants are far from the right tools for marketers looking to reach their Chinese audiences (with rare exceptions). That said, they’re doing okay considering the restrictions.

Other interesting appearances include WhatsApp (#52), Chrome (#130), and YouTube (#131).

Chinese marketing and advertising apps — Key takeaways

If you want to market your business and establish a presence selling products or services in China, the best way is to advertise on the most popular channels (provided your target market are active on those channels). This list is a breakdown of the very best options available to you within China (notice how many rank toward the top on the most popular apps). To find out whether the channels meet the second part of that criteria, your best bet is to get in touch with us.

Display advertising has been increasing quite rapidly in China. Social media, video, content, and search represent huge opportunities to get in front of your target market and capture their attention. 

While a lot of the fundamental marketing principles hold true in both the East and the West, there are subtle differences and optimisations that separate successful Chinese marketing campaigns from those which fail to get traction.

Want to use the top apps in China to grow your business?

Navigating the language, cultural norm, and interface differences is a hurdle for many businesses. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Advertising and marketing through many of the best channels on this list are provided by the AdChina.io Platform. And if Weibo is the platform for you, that is provided by our sister company GoDigitalChina.

If you’re interested in learning more about using these apps and platforms to grow your business’ presence in China, you’ve come to the right place. Likewise if you’d like to get your app listed on the Chinese mobile app store. Ask us any questions in the chatbox, learn more about digital marketing in China here, or contact us for a quick demo of the AdChina.io platform.

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