China App Market Statistics (2024)

Louise Wylie

Updated: June 25, 2024

The biggest app market in the world by user numbers and revenue, China continues to grow its app user base. The vast majority of internet users access the internet via mobile and so apps are highly popular. The smartphone market is highly competitive and domestic companies control a significant share, particularly Huawei.

Around two-thirds of smartphones in China use the Android operating system, with the vast majority of the remainder using iOS. With Google Play unavailable in China due to disputes over censorship, the Android app market is highly fragmented. There are more than 100 mobile app stores for Android smartphones, the most popular being the Huawei App Store.

Another option for developers is to create mini programs which can be accessed through the WeChat app. There are more than 3.5 million mini programs on WeChat with 450 million daily active users. These mini programs cover everything from covering social media to payment services, and retail to messaging.

In 2020, Reuters reported that Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo were working on a platform for developers which would allow them to upload apps onto all four app stores simultaneously. However, progress on the Global Developer Service Alliance appears to have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chinese government maintains strict controls over the apps available in app stores in the country. The Cyberspace Administration of China removes hundreds of apps each quarter which violate the country's censorship laws. This has been contentious among developers who oppose censorship of their apps.

Apple in particular has been accused of succumbing to government pressure on censorship. Following a law introduced in 2017, Apple agreed to move its Chinese customers' data onto computer systems run within China by a state-owned company, without the encryption technology used in other data centres. The company also allegedly removes apps it believes the Chinese government would not approve due to controversial content including information about Taiwan and Tibet.

While the app market continues to grow in China, it is subject to more invasive government intervention than in many other countries. In August 2023, the Chinese government announced proposals to limit children's screen time with a "minor-mode". This follows a restriction on video game playing time for children introduced in 2021.

We have collected data and statistics on the Chinese mobile app market. Read on below to find out more.

Key China App Market Statistics

  • The Chinese app market made $52 billion in revenue in 2023, a decline on 2021 and 2022 values
  • In 2023, there were 1.07 billion people actively using smartphones in China
  • WeChat was the most used app in China in 2023, with one billion monthly users
  • There were 113 billion apps downloaded in China last year
  • Users in China spent 1.2 trillion hours on mobile apps in 2023
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