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Mobile Applications in China


Due to increasingly growing interest to the Chinese market, a lot of western companies are now considering placing mobile applications on Chinese platforms and promoting them in the Chinese web space.

Here, we will tell you about the main platforms to publish your mobile application, necessary documents, and the possibilities for promotion among Chinese users.

Chinese platforms can be divided into two types:

  1. For iOS devices: Chinese App Store,

  2. For Android devices: Android stores, both will be discussed below.

Why Google Play is not working in China

Due to censorship in the Chinese web space and the Chinese firewall, Google and all its services officially left China in 2011. The main supplier of mobile Android applications, Google Play, is also not available in China. Instead, there is a wide variety of platforms (more than one hundred) with Android applications available to any Chinese user.

Top 3 of Largest Chinese App Stores

1. Tencent MyApp App Store (腾讯应用宝)

Tencent is one of the largest technology companies in China and the developer of popular applications such as WeChat and QQ. It is no wonder that Tencent MyApp store is most popular. Tencent MyApp has more than 260 million active users per month (according to AppInChina) and is currently the app store No.1 in China.

2. 360 Mobile Assistant (360 手机 助手)

360 Mobile Assistant is a Chinese app store developed by Qihoo 360. Qihoo 360 is a large Chinese company specialized at Internet security, which also has a popular web browser, “360”. 360 Mobile Assistant was the second popular app store, but it is now left behind by Oppo and Huawei app stores. Approximately 105 million active users per month (according to AppInChina).

3. Baidu Mobile Assistant (百度 手机 助手)

Baidu is the main search engine in mainland China. Baidu has also an app store called Baidu Mobile Assistant which is visited monthly by 81 million active users (according to AppInChina).

4. Android stores of mobile phone manufacturers: Oppo App Market (OPPO软件商店), Huawei (华为应用市场), Xiaomi (小米应用商店), and VIVO (VIVO应用商店)

Four Android stores mentioned above are widely popular in China as they are pre-installed to the most of Android smartphones. Oppo App Store, Huawei App Store, Xiaomi App Store и IVO App Store.

Trouble in Publishing Android Applications in China

In contrast to App Store and Google Play, where decision to publish an application in a particular region is made in the centralized manner and proper localization into Chinese would be sufficient, the situation with Chinese Android stores is different.

To publish an application on a Chinese platform, you need to have your activity licensed. Listed below are the conditions to publish an application in China:

  1. Commercial license for mainland China (Chinese 营业执照).

  2. Connecting to hosting provider in mainland China. Read more

  3. Developer's license (Chinese 软件著作权证明). It can be issued by the Copyright Protection Center (Chinese 中国版权保护中心) for each application separately (!). Developer's license is required to protect the application from illegal copying, So, a portion of the application's code shall be submitted for licensing.

  4. ICP license. It is obtained by a Chinese hosting provider if you have a Chinese legal entity. Read more

  5. Your website URL.

  6. Your application's SDK.

Mobile Application Promoting in China

First, each of the above said platforms either makes part of a particular advertising network (Tencent, 360, Baidu) or has its own one. Therefore, in addition to the tools discussed below, Android apps may also be advertised directly on the platform via the developer's personal account that becomes accessible to you once the release is approved. Pre-rolls, banner ads, pins in listing, and other formats to expand the coverage are available.

Second, there are many promotion tools, which require no more than a landing page with a link to the application download page (in case of approved release on App Store or Android platforms) or a registered account in Chinese social networks.
These include:


  • You can register a service account and advertising account. The service account shall contain some information about your application and a download link. The advertising account offers an opportunity to promote the service account in the WeChat ecosystem at CPM=40 CNY. Read more


  • You can register an official page of the application and promote it in the Sina Weibo ad network at CPM=10 CNY. Read more


  • You can register a user account of the application and promote it in Douyin at CPM=30 CNY. Read more

Baidu Ads

  • This is the largest ad network of Baidu, the dominant search engine in China. You can register an advertising account and set up both search and display campaigns. Read more


It should be noted that most tools are available for non-residents of China and can be registered to a foreign legal entity.

Want to know more? Contact us to learn about all the tools for promoting your application in China.

Alexander Sabantsev
I am Alexander, I am an expert in Chinese marketing and a sinologist. Author of blog articles ChinaDigital, Reddit, Medium.

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