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App Market Thrives in China: Report

Aug 18, 2018 by Yun Nie
App Market Thrives in China: Report

The Chinese big data analyst recently released the Mobile Internet Industry Report for Q2 2018.

While the report came up with some disappointing revelations for several top names, it also recorded some stunning performances by lesser known brands that saw them scale up on the market performance ladder.

However a general picture that emerges is of the growing dependence of the Chinese masses on smartphones.

The average time spent by Chinese mobile Internet users on apps has gone up from 3.9 hours per day in Q1 2018 to 4.2 hours per day in Q2.

The report also reveals that social media apps consume 94.3 minutes while video and news content apps keep users busy for 58.9 and 20.6 minutes respectively in a day.

The average number of apps installed during the period has also marginally increased to 43 from 42 in the previous quarter.

Graphics: Sujith Sukumar

Month-over-Month growth rate of market penetration

In terms of MoM market penetration growth rate, Tencent’s FileManager with 2,234.5% topped the charts in the second quarter. The Tencent baby ousted first quarter winner QQ Speed off the Q2 charts. Interestingly, FileManager did not figure among the top 10 in the last quarter.

The football world cup brought pleasant surprises for lottery app Tiantianzhongcaipiao, online broadcasting app CCTV and the online video platform Migu. Neither of them had featured in the top 10 list in the previous quarter. But thanks to the football frenzy, they clinched the second, third and fourth slots for themselves in Q2.

Tiantianzhongcaipiao’s market penetration rate jumped to 1.4%, CCTV’s spiked to 2.3% while Migu’s soared to 3.7%. Each of these enjoyed over 100% MoM growth rate.

Popular short video app TikTok (Douyin) slipped from the fifth position and settled for number six during the second quarter as its MoM market penetration rate nosedived from 121.3% to 80.2%. The only saving grace was that it managed to better on its market penetration rate that climbed from 16.5% in Q1 to 29.8% in Q2.

Another wild card entry was Tencent’s Playerunknown Battlegrounds (PUBG) that clinched the seventh slot and is placed just behind TikTok. Interestingly it did not figure in the list in the last quarter. It has a MoM market penetration rate of 79.3% and a market penetration rate of over 10%.

Table shows month-over-month market penetration growth rate of mobile apps in China in Q2 2018; Graphics-Sujith Sukumar

Month-over-month growth rate of daily active users (DAU)

Sports news app Hupu surpassed QQ Speed to bag the top position in terms of MoM growth rate of daily active users (DAU) in Q2 2018. The platform reports 2,403,000 DAU with a MoM growth rate of 239.2%. The report is silent about QQ Speed’s MoM growth rate for Q2.

CCTV, Tiantianzhongcaipiao and Migu Video ranked number two, three, and five in the Q2 list relying on their high DAU growth rate. The three apps have grown 214.0%, 203.8%, and 108.6% respectively, obtaining DAU figures of 2,146,000, 1,532,000, and 2,515,000.

TikTok managed to jump up three steps since Q1 to settle for number four in Q2. Its Q2 DAU hit 1 million (103,204,000), a sharp increase compared to its Q1 number of 45,641,000. The MoM growth rate of the app in Q2 is 126.1%.

Table shows month-over-month daily active users growth rate of mobile apps in China in Q2 2018; Graphics-Sujith Sukumar

Preferences based on age, gender and location

Both Q1 and Q2 figures suggest a wide variation in preference for apps among men and women. Female health management app, Meiyou replaces image editing software, MeituPic as the most preferred app among women in Q2 2018.

Among the ten most popular apps among men, download manager Xunlei beat ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing to lead the rankings in Q2.

The mobile question and answer tool, Zuoyebang continues to be the most favourite app among under-15 and 36-45 years old users in Q2 as well. Music streaming app NetEase Cloud Music replaced microblogging platform Sina Weiboto emerge as the most preferred app in the 16-25 age group.

The third party payment app Maidanba, which was the top choice of Chinese netizens aged between 26 and 35 years in Q1, lost its position to Q&A software Zhinengdayi in the second quarter. For mobile Internet users over 45 years, the news content platform Jinri Toutiao was their most favourite in Q2.

Again, for tier I city users, Didi Chuxing seemed to be their most favourite in the second quarter of this year. In Q1 Jingdong ( used to be the most favoured app among this group.

The cloud service Baidu Pan (or Baidu Cloud) and the camera app Faceu, which were popular among people tier II and III cities in Q1, have been replaced by third party online payment service Alipay. For tier IV residents, peer-to-peer Wi-Fi sharing platform WiFi Master Key continues to remain the most favourite app in Q2 2018.

The Passage team deeply regrets errors in the spellings of some brand names in the charts. The necessary corrections have been made in the updated story.

Yun Nie

Yun Nie is a New York-based tech reporter. She focuses on India-China financial market, global IT giants and technology-centric market trends. She can be reached at

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