China boasts over 782 million smartphone users and over 500 million of those are playing mobile games.
As the China's 1.4 billion population is benefitting from over 6% continuous annual GDP growth, China's mobile game market is expected to grow from the USD 19.4 billion in 2018 to USD 25.9 billion by 2020*.
* Source: Newzoo
For a westener, China may seem like a wild west of distribution platforms.
Per Chinese law, no foreign owned entity can publish and operate digital games in China, and working with a licensed local partner is mandatory. As your publisher or service provider partner, MyGamez will take care of all the regulatory requirements for your game in China.
Government approval (ISBN) for each game is a must for distribution in any of the Android market places. ISBN application involves modifying the game to comply with the regulatory requirements and the lengthy application process is wise to start well in advance.
ISBN certificate and/or a local publisher business license is required for acquiring many of the essential services, such as locally hosted game servers, social media accounts and marketing platform services.
Compared to Google Play, the Chinese Android market has some fundamental differences that are good to keep in mind.
The market and distribution channels for premium downloaded games is small and f2p is the main stay for platforms and publishers alike. With the limitations in ad monetisation, the IAP based revenues are relatively more important than in many other markets.
Ad monetisation is in its early stage of development and has many limitations. In the past, most platforms have banned in-game advertisements altogether and while this is now changing, there’re still many limitations on what ad providers can be used in each distribution channel.
The Android distribution stores all have their own platform SDK containing combination of various billing methods (carrier billing, WeChat, Alipay, etc.), sometimes ad mediation and some platform specific features, such as user account logins. Working with MyGamez you don’t need to worry about these and all you need to integrate is MySDK.
User numbers in China Android can be mind-blowing, but it’s good to keep in mind that in China market there’re more hands sharing the revenue pie. While the revenue share model varies depending on billing method and platform deal structure, the cut that publisher receives and shares with the game developer is typically in range of 40%-47.5% of the total game revenues.
In Chinese Android market you’ll be able to see a full spectrum of users in terms of their spending power, devices and connections. In general the devices and connectivity are good (thanks to affordable smartphones and subscriptions), but if your game is aimed at the whole player population, the different tiers of users must be taken into account. Chinese Android users are accustomed to rather aggressive monetisation tactics and expect lot of variety in purchase options and offers and are used to frequent content updates and live operations.
Chinese Android game stores work closely with publishers and engaging the store operations team with content update roadmap, live ops plans and various in-store promotion campaigns can be very beneficial. While feasible UA services are not widely available, featuring by the biggest stores is by far the most important way to drive traffic.