Chinese Android App Maker GO Launcher Files For An IPO

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GO Launcher, an Android app maker out of Beijing that has been around for nearly a decade, just filed for an IPO, according to an SEC document.

They are behind a series of Android apps that have about 87 million monthly active users globally and do things like modify the homescreen and make personalization easier.

They posted $22.7 million in revenue through the first six months of this year, up 87 percent from the same period the year before. They’re profitable with net income of $5.5 million in that period. (Technically, it’s the holding company called “Sungy Mobile Limited” behind the GO series of apps that’s doing the offering, to be clear.)

The company is about a decade old, and they’ve managed to ride China’s shift from feature phones to smart phones. They used to run a 3G portal product that once consumed as much as one-third of the bandwidth for mobile Internet usage in China.

But they later switched to an Android-centric strategy about three years ago, just as the platform was poised to take off in mainland China. It was obvious that a WAP strategy wasn’t going to be successful in the long run.

So they launched a series of products including GO Launcher Ex, which lets customize their home screen with more than 10,000 themes and GO Locker, which lets Android users open apps directly from the lock screen or add more security protection with extra pins, patterns and gestures.

They make money through selling paid apps and premium themes, extra features, advertising and purchases of literary content. The paid apps and premium themes made up more than 40 percent of the company’s revenue in the first half of this year, followed by mobile reading services at 31.8 percent of revenue. Revenues from Go Launcher’s mobile portal marketing services, or its old portal site, have declined to 17.8 percent of revenue from contributing about half of the company’s revenue two years ago.