All You Need to Know about App Localization for Chinese Market
The app localization business is the fastest and most lucrative business in the world, and it is definitely on the to-do list of most businesses for 2020. The reason is simple—it has proven itself to be an effective way to gain more market share and a sure way of achieving sales globally. However, there are certain countries that yield more returns if you localize your app for them. The Chinese market is one of these lucrative markets.
If you succeed in localizing your app for the Chinese market, be assured that you have hit the jackpot!
With a user penetration rate of approximately 23% in 2020, and expected to hit 25.5% by 2024, China can be counted as among the top markets for mobile apps. If numbers are anything to go by, the number of active users on third-party mobile apps touched 472 million in the year 2018, and that figure is expected to soar to 485 million in 2020.
Here’s a brief look at the app market in China.
The Chinese App Market—Android vs iOS
The Chinese market is a hotbed of opportunities, particularly for app developers. This can be ascertained by the fact that the revenue in the Chinese apps industry is projected to reach approximately USD 555 million in 2020, with a growth rate of 7.2%. Not only that, but this growth is also expected to project a market volume of USD 734 million by 2024.
Granted, the Chinese app market looks attractive enough to attract new entrants, but it is quite different from the Western app market. The Chinese app market is dominated by Android apps, followed by third-party apps and then iOS. Since China has its own search engine and does not rely on Google, this indicates the absence of Google from the app market, and ultimately that of Google Play. If localization into the Chinese app market is your goal, you will have to undergo a strict regulatory cycle of app certification through each of the app stores in the Chinese market.
The most popular app store in China is Tencent MyApp App store with more than 270 million active users. This is followed by the Oppo app store and Huawei App store with 125 million and 122 million active users, respectively.
Apple app store has a different game in the Chinese market altogether. While it dominates the western and Asian markets, the iOS app store has only a 14% market share in China. However, the Apple fans in China are generally loyal to the brand, which gives it an appreciable edge in the Chinese market.
You might want to enter the Chinese market with both Android and iOS app versions of your apps, but that is an expensive undertaking that would incur a load of hassles. Choose wisely over which store you want to go for, as that would shape your app store success in the Chinese market.
As far as the Chinese app market is concerned, it is lucrative for new as well as old players. The question is, are your apps localized for this lucrative Chinese market?
The Rules for App Localization in China
One thing that new entrants in the Chinese app market need to keep in mind is that the Chinese market is different from any market in the world. No matter how popular their app is in the west, it might go unnoticed in China, as local apps dominate the Chinese digital landscape.
Rule #1: Change the technical details
In order to fit your apps in the local market, there is a need to change the technical details of the apps, along with the linguistic ones. Although you can encode with any of these standards: EUC-CN, ISO-2022-CN-extension, ISO-2022-CN, or GBK, it’s wiser to use Unicode (UTF-8) as it supports all Chinese characters. In addition, it allows for multiple language localization as well.
It is also important to find a local server to integrate your apps to the Chinese-based cloud system. To ensure your apps run without any disconnections, you need to have access to Chinese servers and for that, a partnership with a local entity is a must.
Rule#2: Translate your App
Translation is one of the most important steps in the process of app localization. This means you will have to spend extra bucks to hire a professional team that can translate your app into the Chinese language. Remember, using automated translation is not an option in China—Chinese people prefer complex expressions and hold different opinions with regards to writing styles. This is why you will need human translation to ensure your message and app resonates with the target market.
Rule#3: Come up with a new app name
When entering the Chinese market you need to be flexible enough to exercise new ways of doing things. Changing your app name from the English version to Chinese is not only necessary, it might be the best marketing step you take. This is because the English name of your app might have different connotations in Chinese—and not all of these connotations will have a good impact on Chinese consumers.
Make sure to find a local Chinese name for your apps as it will create greater appeal for the Chinese audience. Work with a local marketing company to ensure you pick the right name that stays close to your brand message and also attracts the Chinese customer.
Rule #4: Promote your App the Chinese way
After you have made your app available in the Chinese market, you need to promote it too. Regardless of how good your app is, it won’t stand a chance if you don’t use proper promotion channels—think WeChat and Weibo. If you are thinking of taking Facebook, Twitter, or Google route, think again. These platforms don’t work in China, so you need to take advantage of WeChat’s one billion daily active users to promote your app in the Chinese market. Other than that, human interaction is highly appreciated in China, so go for discounts and special promotions as a way to attract more customers.
Rule #5: Consider all laws and regulations
When it comes to internet rules, China is a strict region. A small mistake can lead to your app getting banned in China. For that, you need to be constantly upgraded to the latest rules and regulations regarding cybersecurity and censorship. The Cyberspace Administration of China had implemented a new set of rules in 2016 for app developers regarding data privacy, censorship, and cybersecurity. This is why you need to work with a local partner who knows all these local laws and regulations.
The Last Word: the Chinese market is waiting
According to future estimates, by 2023, over 900 million Chinese users will have access to the internet from their smartphones. This means you will need to make your app localization move faster if you want to make an impression on the Chinese customer. Take time to plan your app launch in the Chinese market, but be prepared for all possibilities as the Chinese market is not only tougher than the western market but is also a profit-yielding and lucrative one.