Is Chinese App Localization For You?


Developing an app involves technical and analytics skills. Consider these 5 questions if Chinese localization app is for you.

This 5 Questions Will Make You Think if Chinese App Localization is for You

Developing an app involves technical and analytics skills. But localizing it – creating something for cultural adaptation – requires interdisciplinary skills.

No matter how popular the English version on App Store and Google Play Store, tapping the world’s biggest market should be a consideration for any developer, publisher, or marketer.

READ MORE >>> Important Factors to Consider for a Successful Localization

Bertrand Schmitt, CEO and co-founder of App Annie, a business intelligence company said in his interview with Xinhua that the mobile app market in China is accelerating in growth.

As he puts it, “putting it within striking distance of Japan and the United States.” Schmitt said that while penetration growth might slow down in the future in the smartphone market, consumers are willing to spend on app services.

3 Consumer’s Mobile Apps Favorite as of this writing

  1. Gaming apps
  2. Social networking apps
  3. Entertainment apps (including video apps)

Whether you are a developer, publisher, or an entrepreneur planning to launch an app in China, you might want to consider these 5 questions before moving forward.

1 How much do I know about my target market?

Chinese consumers are well-connected, digitally savvy consumers. With more than 700 million users, having different tastes and mobile habits, you still need to conduct market segmentation and understand your target market from ground-up.

2 Am I willing to lose my money?

Truth is, mobile app companies thrive in China for this reason: they’re deep-pocketed moguls who are willing to gamble and navigate the huge market. The competition is cut-throat when it comes to mobile apps and chances are, you need to spend more to build more.

3 Am I willing to let go of the control over data and digital assets?

How much do you know about China’s Cyber Laws and its implication to your business for short- and long-term? Frankly, you need to consider the level of control you have with your data and digital assets – where servers should be hosted in the Mainland or nearby – and must comply with the policies, which are, unfortunately, constantly changing. Legal assistance is also advisable especially if you want to secure your IP, copyright, and trademark.

4 What channels should I use to promote my app or should I partner with a local company to do the ground work?

As they say, you are the greatest PR of your company. Of course, doing it your way still counts and would contribute at some point, but you must do it the Chinese way and work with a local partner or publisher to get a significant traction. Most mainstream or western app publishers often partners with local publishers just like the case of Angry Birds, which is now being eyed by Tencent to gobble up and is on its way to IPO.

5 How much am I willing to invest on translation and localization?

App development is laborious and expensive, too. However, if you think you have what it takes to join the ocean of mobile apps in the Mainland, and experience the highs and lows of competing with big and small players, then you need to allot a budget for translation and localization for cultural adaptation.

Localization – from the UI/UX and social media APIs to the colors and layout – should be well-thought of and planned.

One thing we have observed on most English apps that are available in Chinese App Store is that, although they are translated in Chinese, the social media integration for APIs are not localized. They still require a user to sign up using Facebook, which is apparently blocked in China.

As always, cultural adaptation should be part in the development stage.

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