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China becomes leading app publisher, overtaking US for first time in history

By OUYANG SHIJIA | China Daily | Updated: 2022-04-13 09:18

Gaming fans at the booth of NetEase during an expo in Shanghai. [Photo provided to China Daily]

China has overtaken the United States for the first time to dominate a new list of the Top 52 app publishers around the globe, with 17 domestic companies earning places on the annual Top 52 Publishers list released on Tuesday by data.ai, a US-based mobile analytics company.

Jeffery Zheng, regional director for data.ai Greater China, highlighted the considerable progress made by Chinese app publishers over the past year, saying China has become the world's most developed mobile market and Chinese mobile publishers will continue to lead in the future.

Zheng said he is upbeat about Chinese mobile publishers' performance in overseas markets going forward, in part driven by their capabilities in technological innovation.

China's top gaming and social media operator Tencent Holdings Ltd and Chinese leading gaming outfit NetEase have retained the top two spots in data.ai's 2022 Top 52 Publishers list for the fifth consecutive year. US-based gaming powerhouse Activision Blizzard jumped one position to No 3.

Chinese app publishers such as ByteDance, miHoYo, Lilith, Fun-Plus, Alibaba Group and Baidu also made the list.

Noticeably, publishers headquartered in the Asia-Pacific dominated the list, making up 63.5 percent of the Top 52.

According to data.ai, while gaming companies have made great strides overseas, various non-game Chinese companies are also seeking to expand their global presence.

ByteDance earned top spot on another data.ai list-the Top 30 non-game Chinese publishers by revenue in overseas markets, followed by JOYY and Tencent.

Heading into 2022, data.ai said it has seen consumers spend more time and money than ever before-including nearly one-third of all waking hours-on mobile devices.

According to data.ai, Chinese developers have nearly doubled their market share in global app downloads over the past 10 years-from 8 percent in 2011 to 14 percent by the first half of 2021.

"Over the past decade, Chinese companies have achieved substantial growth in the globalization process by leveraging their technology and talent advantages. As the era of new industrial changes rushes forward, we are well aware of the unprecedented challenges that accompany huge development opportunities," said Meng Hao, vice-president of mobile application at Google key account division.

Despite challenges ahead, Wei Haijun, founding partner at Grand View Capital, said that with the high penetration rate of the mobile internet, extensive demand from global users has created tremendous opportunities for the next generation of Chinese entrepreneurs.

According to a recent joint report by Google, Roland Berger, Grand View Capital and data.ai, smartphone penetration is set to grow by more than 10 percent from 2020 to 2025, and emerging markets will be the main driver.

The report said developed markets such as the US and Western Europe remain strong in terms of consumer app store spending, while emerging markets such as Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Mexico are seeing high growth in downloads, which will be worth exploring in the future.

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