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New statistics showing the popularity of various free and paid iOS apps in China show the great importance of localization. And now that Chi…

iPhone 4 launches in China
photo: Getty Images / Feng Li

New statistics showing the popularity of various free and paid iOS apps in China show the great importance of localization. And now that China is the second-biggest downloader of free – or freemium – iPhone and iPad apps, it’s even more critical to a game’s success that it comes with Chinese language translations throughout the app and download page.

These stats from AppAnnie also highlight a strong desire in Asia for apps that have a local language name – particularly so in mainland China, Taiwan, and South Korea.

Before we look at the infographics, remember that Apple rolled out easier RMB payments in China this month (these stats are from September, prior to that new development), and so Mandarin-language paid apps should be considered more of a priority from now on.

Global Free iOS Downloads, Revenue

Although China now accounts for 12 percent of all the world’s free iOS app downloads, it accounts for only 2 percent of revenue for developers. But, as I said with the new payments system, this will now slowly change, and freemium might become less of a trend on Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) smartphone platform in China.

Of course, that two percent figure accounts only for direct app revenue, and takes no account of other clever ways of cashing-in on games in China, such as Rovio Mobile with its merchandising push.

Mandarin, Do You Speak It?

Getting back onto the subject of localization, we can now see very strong demand for local language iPhone and iPad apps in China, with nearly half of all top 25 apps consumed in China being those with Chinese-language names. And so game publishers like Popcap have ensured that its cult titles, like Plants vs Zombies (pictured top), have a decent local name as well.

Major new entrants to China, such as the American 6waves Lolapps – with whom we chatted recently, about its social gaming plans in China – seem to realise this, and have been making acquisitions and tie-ups right, left, and centre in order to get it done right in Asia. Smaller/solo game devs face a tougher challenge though.

There seems to be more of a propensity in western European countries for Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) mobile device owners to not need a local language version, such as in multilingual Switzerland. Understandably, that’s not so feasible in east Asian countries that use different character sets.

If you’re a game developer, panel discussion on localizing games for global success might be of interest, as it features expert advice from the likes of EA and Tapjoy.

[Source: AppAnnie's blog]

» This article originally appeared on Penn Olson, Asia Tech News For The World, and is reproduced here with permission.

This article originally appeared in Penn Olson.

  1. Ever thought about the price to wage ratio in China compared to the US?

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