Apple (s aapl) wants to make it easier for customers in its fastest-growing market to get their hands on software, which is why it started accepting Chinese yuan for App Store downloads (via the Wall Street Journal) on Friday. The change is designed to curtail piracy and grow Apple’s software ecosystem in its most promising growth market.
Before, Chinese shoppers had to hold a dual-currency credit card in order to make App Store purchases, which caused a lot of people to just jailbreak and install pirated software from outside sources or use false identities and fake gift cards to buy apps. Now over 20 Chinese banks have entered into an arrangement with Apple that will allow their customers to make payments in yuan to buy apps on the iPhone, iPad and Mac App Stores.
The switch to yuan should add “millions” of app sales for Apple, BDA China’s Duncan Clark told the WSJ, as some users who once pirated software opt to go legit for the sake of ease and convenience. The change should be good not only for Apple but also for iOS developers, as it positions the App Store as better able to compete with local application marketplaces like Mobile Market and WoStore, which already offered payment options that Chinese customers prefer, like mobile carrier billing.
A study this week found that Chinese localization is a key factor in determining whether apps will succeed in that market, with apps like Halfbrick’s special Fruit Ninja for China and versions of EA (s erts) games with Chinese instructions doing better than their less-specialized Western import counterparts. Now that Apple has made buying easier, making games more relatable to Chinese shoppers will be the next step for devs hoping to succeed in Apple’s second-most-important market.