LINE, King and Supercell are hot in Taiwan, an easier and effective entry point into Asia
Taiwan has a population of 23 million people, but despite being nearly one fifteenth the size of the US population, it ranks #5 on Google Play for worldwide sales. According to a Yahoo study, Taiwanese people rank #1 in the world for average daily smartphone use with nearly 200 minutes (average of 32 nations was 142 minutes). These factors make Taiwan an attractive market that should be on the radar of developers worldwide.
We conducted an analysis of the Taiwan Google Play Top Grossing, Top Free and Top New Free charts for the month of September.
Want to target Japan? Target Taiwan first.
Japan is in many ways the holy grail of app marketing, as Japanese users are accustomed to paying for mobile content and have extremely high ARPU in comparison to the rest of the world. However, due to an increase in competition and heavy ad spending by local app developers and publishers, the barrier to entry for the Japanese market is extremely high for most Western developers. Without burst advertising in Japan it is extremely difficult to chart high enough to attain any significant level of organic users, and a minimum spend to do this will easily run into six digits USD.
Taiwan offers an opportunity to test the regional market before going all in on Japan.
A look at the Taiwan Google Play Top Grossing charts from September reveals the strong similarity between Taiwan and Japan, as RPGs are the top selling category in both markets and they also share 9 of the top 10 selling Google Play categories.
Other categories that are particularly strong in both markets are Action (Taiwan #3/Japan #5) and Casual (Taiwan #4/Japan #2).
Categories with a large disparity in popularity would be Strategy (Taiwan #2/Japan #9) and Entertainment (Taiwan #25/Japan #10).
Western and Chinese developers succeeding in Taiwan
We analyzed which apps had the sharpest "ranking incline rate" (rate of increase in rank over the course of the month) in the Taiwan Google Play Top Grossing charts for September, revealing that popular communication app LINE had a total of 7 titles in the top 40. LINE first emerged on the scene in Japan where it now boasts over 54 million users, but their popularity has spread overseas including Taiwan, where they now have over 17 million users (LINE statistics as of Sept 2014).
While the Top Grossing chart is predominantly occupied by mainland Chinese and Taiwanese developers, there are a number of Western developers that
「Candy Crush Saga」（KING）
First charted in Taiwan in November 2012, has topped the Google Play Top Free charts in Taiwan before. In September, charted as high as #6 on the Google Play Top Grossing chart.
「Clash Of Clans」（Supercell）
First charted on the Taiwan Google Play charts in October 2013, has charted as high as #3 on Top Grossing. In September, went as high as #6 and has remained in the Top 10 for the entire month of October.
DotA Legends (刀塔傳奇) （LemonGameTW）
Released in mid-August by the Taiwanese branch of mainland Chinese developer LemonGame, this strategy game spent a total of 11 days atop the Taiwan Google Play Top Grossing charts and another 2 days on top of the Top Free charts in Taiwan. Definitely an app to watch in the future.
「城堡爭霸 - Castle Clash 繁體中文版 」（IGG）
IGG is one of many mainland Chinese developers that have taken an aggressive approach to promoting in Taiwan, particularly because there is no Google Play in China so they must look cross-border in order to establish a userbase. Their Castle Clash title first debuted in August 2013, and climbed as high as #19 on the Taiwan Google Play Top Grossing charts in September.
RPG is the top genre in Taiwan
Role Playing is the category that has the strongest presence on the Taiwan Top Grossing charts. For the Top Grossing charts, a total of 86.5% of the apps charting come from one of the top 10 most frequently appearing categories. Of the total 44 Google Play app categories, the remaining 34 make up just 13.5% of all apps charting on Top Grossing in Taiwan, indicating that apps monetizing well come from only a select few categories.
On the Google Play Top Free chart, the Tools category came out on top with a category frequency rate (percentage of a chart that is made up by apps of a given category over a specified period of time) of 8.8%. By comparing these results to the Top Grossing charts results, we can see a couple of trends.
The Card category ranks high on Top Grossing at #6, and ranks low on Top Free at #21, indicating that there are a smaller number of total users but they have a considerably higher than average ARPU.
The Tools category ranks at the top of Top Free at #1, and ranks low on Top Grossing at #21, indicating that there are a larger number of users but they have a considerably lower than average ARPU.
On the Google Play Top New Free chart, the Casual category came out on top with a category frequency rate of 12.9%. Once again we compared these results to the Top Grossing charts results.
The Casino category ranks high on Top Grossing at #5, and ranks low on Top New Free at #14, indicating that fewer developers are targeting casino game users like they used to.
The Personalization category ranks at the top of Top Free at #6, and ranks low on Top Grossing at #32, indicating that there are a lot of new apps being released but they are operating with much lower than average ARPU users.
Taiwan will draw more attention as the Taipei Game Show (Jan. 28-Feb. 1, 2015) approaches, one of the largest game shows in the world. Taiwan represents an opportunity for Western developers to enter into Asia with a lower budget to test the waters before making end roads into larger regional markets like Japan and Korea.
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