At the Android Fever panel here at Disrupt Beijing, Wang Hua of Innovation Works, John Lagerling, Director of Android Global Partnerships at Google, and David Chao of DCM. These folks are bullish on Android, noting that there are currently 40 million android phones in country and that China is number three in terms of development kit downloads.
“The Android market in China is going through a chaotic phase,” said David Chao. He, like Hua and Lagerling, is betting that Android is going to win the day in China, especially in the lower end of the market.
“Nokia is dying much faster than we expected,” said Hua. In the lower-price space, Android is quickly replacing feature phones in the entry-level segment of the phone market.
Lagerling said the that one of the goals of making android open source was to encourage new entrants and that a number of Chinese OEMs who used to depend on custom OSes and stacks, are switching to android. “There’s a focus on customizing, unifying experiences,” said Lagerling.
Chao mentioned his $100 million fund for app development in China. “Nobody is making money on Android software in China,” he said. “But over the next two or three years it’s going to be one of the most lucrative properties.”
“I used to work for Apple and I understand the shortcomings of Apple,” said Chao. “I believe Android is the MS DOS/windows vs. Mac in the 80s and the 90s. Android surpasses the iPhone and iOS and for the ecosystem to thrive it’s all about the numbers.”
“The Chinese market is much more chaotic, more open. It favors the Android ecosystem much more,” he said. He believes Android tablets will become the go-to gaming consoles in the country.
And what about the Google Android Marketplace? As it stands there are almost 70 independent marketplaces right now. Google is working to change that, but refused to say when.
In a third swing at getting a direct answer to the question, moderator Greg Kumparak asked “Do you think the Android Market needs to launch in China? And if so, when will that happen?” Lagerling balked.
“I can’t predict the future,” he said.