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A Guide to App Monetization in China

Development for Android *Mobile applications monetization *Games monetization *

Introduction and Context

So you’ve just finished developing the next mobile gaming smash hit. You’ve already planned to launch your game worldwide and win the hearts of gamers everywhere. But what you haven’t done yet is think about how you’re going to make any money from your success and hard work. Of course, you’ve imagined becoming an instant millionaire, but you just don’t know how to get there.  

Fear not, intrepid developer! Instead of just rehashing the tired headlines and beating the same old drum, we’ve tailored our Ad Monetization write-up for developers who are gearing up to publish their game or app in China. We’ve scoured the internet, grabbed insight from ad giants like Google, Smartyads, and PocketGamer.biz and combined it with our own hands-on knowledge of what works in China—knowledge that we have gained from the past  5 years in the industry.

We need to briefly explore how monetization functions as a utility within the context of game design. This is especially true when examining how developers in China have made meaningful design decisions that have both shaped and been shaped by user habits. Unpacking the utility of Chinese game monetization will help developers understand why Ads Monetization or Hybrid Monetization strategies have become so popular, especially in China.

Moving from monetization design, we’ll examine some of the best practices regarding Ads Monetization. Finally,  we’ll turn to specific case studies in the Chinese market that show how powerful Ads Monetization, specifically Rewarded Videos, can be in a well-balanced monetization strategy. 

Designing Monetization as a Utility

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What App Stores can you consider except Apple App Store and Google Play Store? Here are 6 Alternative App Stores

Development for iOS *Development for Android *Games monetization *Games promotion *

Recently Epic Games’ Fortnite was removed from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The main reason being Epics bypassing of in-app purchases instead of using the officially sanctioned system for both platforms. While it is still possible for you to download Fortnite directly, this large scale case brings to light the duopoly of Apple and Google in the mobile market.

For most developers, these two stores account for almost all of their revenue and userbase. While Epic Games will be fine to go without, for the time being, what about the other 99% of developers who rely on these two stores for distributing and monetizing their apps. In this article, we’ll provide some of the alternative stores available for both developers and consumers for finding or distributing apps.

For one reason or another, you may have found yourself wondering, ‘where are some other places I can go to find and download new apps and games for my mobile device’? Or ‘are there any other marketplaces for me to share my apps’?

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OPPO, Huawei, Xiaomi. Chinese app stores join forces to take on Google

Game development *Google App Engine *Development for Android *Unity3D *DevOps *

Major players in the Chinese app market are joining forces to take on the almighty Google Play store. Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo are reported to launch the Global Developer Service Alliance (GDSA), a platform allowing Android developers to publish their apps in the partnering stores from one upload.

The GDSA is expected to launch in nine countries—including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, Spain, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam—although paid app support may vary across the regions. Canalys’ Nicole Peng explains the wide reach of this alliance:

By forming this alliance each company will be looking to leverage the others’ advantages in different regions, with Xiaomi’s strong user base in India, Vivo and Oppo in Southeast Asia, and Huawei in Europe. 

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Female gamers in China

Games and game consoles

The latest forecast by Niko Partners shows promise that gender equality in gaming is on track to reach 50/50 by the end of 2020, as figures show a consistent rise of 4% year on year: “Female gamers are rising, making up 42% of total gamers in 2018, 46% in 2019, and forecast to be 50% in 2020, primarily on the mobile platform.” This forecast follows a report by the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association last year that identified growth potential and calls for more quality games targeted at female players.

2019 saw the number of female gamers reach 300 million, contributing RMB 52.7 billion (USD 7.5 billion) or 22.8% of total actual sales revenue of the gaming industry in China. The Association’s report also identified low cost leisure games as most popular among females. Furthermore, the Gamma Data report gives China’s female game market revenue a forecast of RMB 56.8 billion for 2020, with 70% (RMB 40.1 million) of revenue deriving from mobile games.

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The Different RPG styles between East and West

Development of mobile applications *Game development *Development for Android *Unity3D *Games and game consoles
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The Chinese Mobile RPG: the Genre of Giants.


Chinese RPGs make up 56% of the top 500 grossing iOS games in China. According to data gathered in 2019 by Game Refinery’s Joel Julkunen. Let’s take a look at the genre and some important points for game developers and RPG enthusiasts to consider Chinese Mobile RPGs.


RPG or role-playing game is a game where the player plays as a character, often the main character, in a fictional game world.

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Shenzhen, Guangdong, Китай
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