China has the most cell phone users in the world, and according to mobile app analytics firm Flurry, they’re using apps more than they ever have before.
For their latest report, Flurry tracked mobile app sessions (essentially, instances of use) across 120,000 apps from January to October 2011. Among other things, they were able to single out the ten countries where apps sessions have increased the most.
While most of the counties on the list hovered between a 300% and 500% jump in app usage, China pulled ahead with a staggering 870% jump in usage sessions. That leap makes China second only to the United States in terms of app sessions initiated.
Of course, Flurry’s analytics can only illustrate part of the picture, but the question still stands — what could have caused such a dramatic jump in app usage?
Among other things, Flurry thinks it has to with dropping hardware prices. Older model iOS devices have become more accessible thanks to their depreciating value, and Android continues to appear on a wide array of device with a wide array of price tags.
Android’s growth in the low-end market is a sentiment that was shared by some of the guests at our Disrupt Beijing conference. Wang Hua of Innovation Works said in an interview that “Nokia is dying much faster” then expected. Feature phones as a whole are becoming less prominent in China, and inexpensive Android devices are beginning to fill in that niche.
China’s voraciousness for apps can’t just be explained by hardware availability — it’s a software issue too. The country’s huge increase in app-etite (sorry) was almost certainly helped by the existence of multiple independent app stores. Among the myriad options available to users, big names like Motorola, Baidu, and Tencent all operate their own Android-friendly markets. Getting into China can be a bit of a rocky road for developers looking to tap a lucrative market, but it certainly seems to be well worth the effort.