Chinese apps no longer rule in India as domestic rivals take over
But Chinese Android brands such as Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Realme still have more than half of the country's smartphone market
Chinese apps in India were overtaken by locally developed offerings this year in terms of total number of installations, as the world’s second largest smartphone market continues to draw major international players in a range of categories.
Of the top 200 installed apps in India this year, domestic apps now make up 41 percent of the list, a 38 percent increase from last year, according to a new report released this week by AppsFlyer, a San Francisco-based mobile marketing analytics firm. It said much of that growth was driven by demand for apps in the shopping, food and drink categories. The AppsFlyer review covered 6.5 billion total installations in the April to September period.
Apps from Chinese developers, by contrast, made up 38 percent of the top 200 list, down from their market-leading 43 percent share last year. Chinese apps, however, continued to lead in categories such as gaming, news and entertainment, and utilities.
“Given the size and blue-sky potential of the market, India could very well see more foreign competitors following in the footsteps of the Chinese, which have expanded at a surprising clip, over the next decade,” the AppsFlyer report said.
The increasingly competitive apps market in India reflects how Chinese technology companies have sharpened their focus in the world’s second most populous country amid a slowdown in their home market. Chinese Android device brands Xiaomi Corp, Vivo, Oppo and Realme had a combined 52 percent share the country’s smartphone market in the past two quarters, according to data from the AppsFlyer report.
India’s policymakers are also pushing initiatives to further boost domestic technology development. A regulation on ecommerce, for example, went into effect in February this year. There are already 665 million internet users in India, according to the country’s Telecom Regulatory Authority. That number is about double the size of the US population.
The AppsFlyer report cited a Cisco Systems forecast that smartphone ownership and internet usage in India will surge to 60 percent of the population by 2022.
While they may have been surpassed in overall number of installations this year, Chinese apps developers remained leaders in popular categories. Internet giant Tencent Holdings, for example, continued to lead in the gaming category, where the Chinese firm’s Clash of Kings mobile game has an overall share of 20 percent this year, the AppsFlyer report said. It said game apps from developers in Israel and Slovenia have also carved a growing niche in the Indian market.
In the news and entertainment app category, Chinese apps – led by popular video-sharing app TikTok from Beijing-based ByteDance – bolstered their share to 59 percent this year, up from 36 percent last year, the report said.
TikTok was already the most downloaded social media app worldwide for November, with close to 72 million installations, which represented an 11 percent increase from a year ago, according to data from apps analytics firm Sensor Tower.
Despite domestic developers’ lead in India’s shopping app category, Hangzhou-based ecommerce platform operator Club Factory’s app remained one of the top performers in that category. Club Factory was the most downloaded shopping app worldwide for November, with more than 27 million installations, according to Sensor Tower. It said 99 percent of those installations during that period were in India.