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Social apps log sharp growth

By FAN FEIFEI | China Daily | Updated: 2021-09-06 09:44

Asia Innovations Group holds an activity at its headquarters. As of March 31, the operator of mobile social platforms and services had more than 350 million registered users in over 150 countries and regions. [Photo provided to China Daily]

AIG beefs up efforts to expand business in emerging economies

Asia Innovations Group, a global operator of mobile social platforms and services, is beefing up efforts to expand its business landscape in emerging markets, which will continue to be the key drivers of global social networking market growth.

Currently, more and more mobile applications are expanding their presence in overseas markets, buoyed by the popularization of smartphone brands such as Huawei, Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo, as well as the growing availability of fast mobile internet in these emerging markets, said Andy Tian, CEO of AIG.

He said social networking platforms like WeChat and TikTok, also known as Douyin, have surpassed the first generation of social media apps in the United States, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, in the realm of functionality, creativity, complexity and depth of operation.

AIG is mainly focusing on emerging markets, including the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia (especially India and Pakistan), Southeast Asia, the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, with 12 offices across the globe, Tian said.

Live social, which refers to social networking applications that focus on live video and voice interaction, has emerged as the key technology platform shaping the way people connect with each other, display their talents and share their lives, Tian said, adding he is optimistic about the development prospects of the mobile social networking segment overseas.

Founded in 2013, AIG now offers a rich product portfolio that mainly covers video social, social dating and social fandom. As of March 31, it had more than 350 million registered users in over 150 countries and regions worldwide.

Launched by AIG in 2016, Uplive, a live video social platform, allows viewers to broadcast and view real-time videos via their smartphones, with more than 200 million registered users, making it the largest independent video social entertainment platform in the world outside of China.

Uplive has rapidly expanded operations to Hong Kong, Taipei, Los Angeles, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Saudi Arabia and other international media hubs.

Many people have resorted to using mobile social networking apps to interact with each other during the COVID-19 pandemic. The next-generation social dating app helps people make friends worldwide, especially in Southeast Asia, India, Pakistan, the Middle East and North Africa.

Tian said Lamour, which offers a live online dating experience based on interactive features such as real-time video, voice and text messages and mini-games, was the most downloaded mobile dating app in emerging markets last year.

At present, the majority of AIG's revenue comes from a virtual gift-enabled business model, which allows users to send virtual gifts through livestreaming and video calls, and to buy decorations through in-app games, as well as paid memberships, Tian explained, adding the revenue posted a more than 100 percent increase each year.

"The mobile social networking market is still at an early stage. The coverage rate of mobile internet is uneven in emerging markets and the penetration rate of smartphones is also relatively low, about 30 percent in these areas, which presents huge growth potential."

Domestic mobile applications have stepped up efforts to make inroads into overseas markets in recent years. Data from the mobile data and analytics company App Annie showed that 15 Chinese mobile application publishers earned places on a list of the top 52 app publishers around the world last year.

App Annie said games continue to be the biggest source of overseas revenue for domestic app publishers, but non-gaming domestic apps have gained momentum in the global market. For instance, TikTok witnessed rapid growth in global active users in 2020, nearly tripling in size since 2018, and this figure is estimated to exceed 1.2 billion in 2021.

Tian said AIG will continue to accelerate expansion in more countries and regions, such as Central Africa, South Africa, South America and Europe, as well as further develop new products that satisfy various demands of users in differentiated markets with different cultures, languages and religions.

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