Clash of Clans is a big hit in China despite in-app payment disaster

Clash of Clans is a big hit in China despite in-app payment disaster

November 26, 2013

by Steven Millward

Supercell’s newest game Clash of Clans is proving to be a big hit in China right now. According to one of China’s biggest third-party Android app stores, Wandoujia, it’s the top new game in the country with over 200,000 downloads this month from just that one app store. But there’s a problem. The developers are not going to make much money from all the new Clash of Clans fans in China – though it’s not because of piracy, since it’s a free game. Instead, there’s a massive in-app payment mess-up going on whereby the new game uses only Google’s in-app billing but doesn’t have a localized solution in place for Chinese gamers. As a result, notes Wandoujia’s newest China App Index for November, the popular game tries to force Chinese users to install the Google Play store, which few in the country use. But even that won’t work. That’s because Google’s app store in China doesn’t support paid apps, so there’s literally no way for Chinese gamers to get in-app schwag in Clash of Clans [1]. Of course, not all game developers make this mistake. Many find a local publishing partner to adapt their game for tough markets like China – as exemplified by the guys who make Fruit Ninja – or find a method to take in-app payments in a way that suits local consumers. For example, the studio could form a tie-up with a telco for carrier billing, use Alipay in China (like Paypal), or implement a third-party app store billing system (ie: not Google’s). In-app purchases for Clash of Clans on iPhone work fine and very easily via Chinese iTunes accounts, so this is an Android-only issue in China.

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 (, 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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