Launching game in China offers many lessons for world's top children's app - San Francisco Technology
If you're a application designer enthusiastic about rolling your product in China, it's worth heeding the lessons learned by PlayKids. The team behind our planet's top grossing iOS children's app introduced their product in China three months ago and they clearly did several things right the other essential thing wrong.
PlayKids, which has been developed by the Latin American mobile platform provider Movile and is the top grossing kids app in over 20 countries, was published in China last December and achieved over 300,000 downloads inside the first month. This was significant given it led Supercell's mammoth hit game ' Clash of Clans ' by 100,000 downloads over the same period.
Eduardo Henrique, PlayKids' Head of Global Expansion, spoke just for this column in regards to the challenges of launching his popular children's app inside the huge Chinese market. 'The launch has clearly been a success,' said Henrique. 'It's a learning curve, but I am very optimistic. It's super hard to succeed within the app market anywhere within the world.'
One in the challenges that Henrique and his awesome PlayKids team faced when launching in China was the requirement to comprehend the local culture. 'So we hired a Chinese country manager who was locally raised,' Henrique explained. 'She's driving our marketing.'
Another key decision which Movile had to make was the woking platform where they will launch their popular app. PlayKids premiered only on iOS which is not the most common way app developers reveal their new versions.
However, Movile already stood a reliable billing platform with Apple along with the company felt that carrying out a simpler route would allow them to move faster in a very tough market.
An essential aspect may well have been the presence of over 100 million iOS devices in China. Henrique is targeting this huge member list for his advertising, but he first needed to narrow the outreach for marketing. So by focusing only on users in China's large cities (for example Beijing), and much more specifically women relating to the ages of 25 and 4 decades old, PlayKids hopes to generate a far more successful response.
'Women within this population are mainly accountable for their children's education so that they select the apps,' Henrique explained.
There was another hurdle to conquer inside launch of PlayKids in the event it found advertising: no Facebook. The world's most visible and influential social media platform has become suspended in China since 2009, so Henrique needed to find ad networks with local ties to succeed in potential customers.
Another important aspect was speed. Immediately after launching in December, PlayKids immediately revised its Chinese version. According to Henrique, it was partly to hold interest high and take advantage of the upcoming Chinese New Year. But there was another, possibly even more valuable element that faces all app developers: imitation.
'Chinese companies are extremely efficient in copying you and improving on everything you did,' said Henrique. 'My challenge ended up being move faster than my local competitors.'
The Movile executive is realistic concerning the challenge of competing inside the difficult Chinese market. Despite PlayKids' impressive early success, not everything went smoothly because of its introduction.
The Chinese government requires that you must have the best entity within the country when you are planning to work with local host servers. Movile didn't, so they really had to use a service beyond your country which meant crossing stringent protection controls also known as 'The Great Firewall.'
'Performance was excellent, but downloads were a challenge,' said Henrique.
As a result, he is opening a subsidiary company in China which will allow PlayKids to operate from service in the country.
Movile is intending to deliver more new content including cartoons later this month. 'Instead of complaining, I just ought to move faster,' said Henrique. 'We wish to offer more.'
The launch of PlayKids in China is often a cautionary tale about knowing the local culture after which taking the necessary steps to ensure success. Game developers
can expect to face challenges when it comes to advertising and server location, and they must prepare to be copied almost immediately. It's an undertaking not for your inexperienced, then again you wouldn't expect that entry into the earth's largest market to be easy.
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