iOS growth has been staggering in China, and yet still has a long way to go. That's why it's not too surprising that the 25 billionth app downloaded from the App Store was announced to be a free game downloaded in China. It really sets the tone for the future.
Apple recently ran a promotion as a countdown to the 25 billionth download on an app on the App Store. That 25 billionth download happened over the weekend. It was announced today that Chunli Fu of Qingdao, China downloaded that 25 billionth download. The app downloaded was Where's My Water? Free. To me, that's very telling of the future of mobile gaming and iOS expansion.
Asia, and particularly China is a huge potential market for iOS in particular and Apple in general. With well over a billion people, the market is huge and growing with iPhones becoming a hot commodity. You may remember that Apple had to halt the sale of the iPhone 4S in China in January due to near riots. The pent up demand is that high there.
Not to mention that App Annie is reporting user growth in China has increased 298% and revenue 187% over the last year. This outstrips growth seen in all other countries and it's not expected to slow down anytime soon.
The fact that the 25 billionth download was for a free game, is not much of a surprise. I've heard from many that users in China are not traditional used to paying for games. Simon Li, Deputy General Manager of Wireless Gaming Products for Tencent recently presented at the Mobile World Congress some information on the games market in China. While Tencent's top mobile game in China makes the equivalent of $3 million per month, that game is free and relies on in app purchase for that income. He reports that freemium is required for that market as users are rarely willing to pay for a game.
If you are an app developer and you aren't addressing the China market, now might be a good time to start.