Umeng: 700+ Million Smartphone Users in China

Posted on Mar 18, 2014
By Gaurav Aidasani

 An analytics firm named Umeng has reported that China has over 700 million of active smartphone users. Moreover, out of all the devices that were sold 41% of the buyers were purchasing their first ever smartphone. Rest of the customers were upgrading to a better model.

In November 2011, China had become the world’s largest smartphone market. However, the sales gradually dropped down after the mobile penetration rates increased. As per a report from the IDC, shipments decreased in 2013 for the first time in two years. The first –time users are buying their smartphone devices after prices have drastically gone down.

Majority of the smartphone devices sold in China were Androids that cost less than $350. However, the demand for these devices is very strong today as well. A lot of high-end smartphones were sold as well. 80% of the same were iPhone smartphones.

iPhone users are also now less likely to jailbreak their phones, thanks to China’s new status as one of Apple’s launch markets; tools like Kuaiyong Apple Assistant, which offers free versions of paid iOS apps; and security concerns about jailbroken devices. Last year, the percentage of jailbroken iPhones in mainland China fell to 13% from 30% at the beginning of the year.
Samsung and Xiomi highly dominate the Android marketplace though it is fragmented with more than 100 manufacturers. In 2013, the top 10 Android devices came from these two phone giants.

Mostly, people who are owners of smartphones costing less than $150, stick to casual games. However, many people spend a lot of time in every title thanks to the improvement in hardware like the processors and memory and graphic cards.
In fact, Umeng writes that “the term ‘casual games’ is becoming a misnomer as users are spending large blocks of time playing these games rather than dipping in and out as was once the case.”

Players are also starting to demand the official versions of games, instead of clones or pirated versions. Last year was the first year “Chinese developers took IP seriously with many developers licensing IP from rights holders,” said Umeng. He further continued saying that, “With the loyalty of fans, game developers realized a well-known, officially licensed IP/brand will help them easily attract IP fans and get promoted in the app store and potentially acquire more high value users.”

 A lot of social networking services like WeChat, Sina Weibo, QQ and Renren should be integrated into social networking services. The amount of app content shared over social media platforms has been increasing ever since; it has tripled over the last six months. 48 per cent of it has come from games.
WeChat was especially popular–the amount of app content shared through the messaging app grew by a whopping 8,600% between March and November 2013.


Umeng said non-game developers should keep an eye on the other five fastest growing mobile app categories, which are news, health and fitness, social networking, business, and navigation. Popular social networking apps included photo- and video-sharing apps, as well as app targeting niche markets, like dating and parenting