5 Mobile Apps Chinese Smartphone Users Can’t Live Without

5 Mobile Apps Chinese Smartphone Users Can’t Live Without

April 16, 2013

by Spencer Ng


top-5-ios-china top-5-android-chinaHeadlines in the China chat app scene have recently been overtaken by WeChat. Only two years old, the mobile chat app has already accumulated a user-base of over 300 million users with a large majority of them in China. Understandably, WeChat is huge in terms of users, but before we think it has become the single dominant force in social/communication, it’s worthwhile to remind ourselves of the other apps that the Chinese use to connect with each other.

Leveraging TNS’s Mobile Behave (1) panel, we can measure the time smartphone users spend with any one particular app as a proportion of total time spent facing their smartphone screens. This enables us to get a handle on the relative time spent on different social/communication apps.

Looking first at Android – the top five mobile apps account for 34 percent of time spent on a smartphones. Predictably, the top five is dominated by the usual suspects such as UCWeb mobile browser (#1). However, it is followed closely by Mobile QQ and WeChat which account for nine percent and seven percent of time respectively. Sina Weibo comes in at four percent.

With iOS, users gravitate most towards Mobile QQ, which has 15 percent of the total time spent on iOS devices. This is followed by Weibo (13 percent) and WeChat (10 percent). Finally, as one would expect with Apple users, entertainment is an important aspect of their lives – in line with this, PPS (a peer to peer streaming video network) is next in the top five and accounts for three percent of users’ time.

Clearly, people spend a large proportion of their mobile device time on apps like Weibo, WeChat and Mobile QQ. Be it Android or iOS, these three apps have secured a place in the top five and together account for a substantial amount of activity on the smartphone. Connectivity in the form of enhanced instant messaging is a key need in Chinese smartphone users’ lives.

While WeChat is garnering lots of attention, it’s useful to note that both Mobile QQ and Weibo are also apps that the Chinese are using extensively to connect with one another. Not surprisingly, Mobile QQ gets more use than WeChat given that it has a longer history (it has roots as a desktop IM app before coming up with a mobile app for smartphone users). But regardless of whether WeChat or Mobile QQ leads the pack, it’s a win-win situation for Tencent, since it owns both platforms.

However, given the rapid pace at which the mobile app scene is developing, it’s anybody’s guess what the chat app scene will look like several more months down the line. Who would have known that WeChat, which only had 100 million users a year ago, would enjoy a growth trajectory that would rival the likes ofWhatsapp on the international scene?

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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