Could Hong Kong be the key to unlocking the Greater China app market?

Hong Kong has a population of only 7 million people, on an area of only 650 square miles. Despite its limited size, Hong Kong is an app market with particular influence on mainland China, and is a particularly effective starting point for developers planning to expand into Asia.

Hong Kong market linked closely with Taiwan

Hong Kong is located only 500 miles from Taiwan, and the two regions share many similarities. In the case of the app market, the fact that Hong Kong and Taiwan share Traditional Chinese as a common language is the most important factor. 

The Hong Kong market plays an important role in the Greater China region that goes beyond the Top Grossing performance of apps within Hong Kong itself. Given the similarities between the app markets of Hong Kong and Taiwan (the #5 Google Play market in the world in terms of revenue), the two markets can be a very effective entry point for developers looking to break into and/or across Asia.

To demonstrate the similarities between the app markets of Hong Kong and Taiwan, we calculated the top performing categories on the Google Play Top Grossing charts for both markets, for the month of October. Hong Kong and Taiwan share the identical top 5 performing Top Grossing categories. In a Metaps report on the Taiwan market, we indicated that due to similarities between the Taiwan and Japan Google Play charts, that Taiwan offered a cost effective way of test marketing potential success in Japan. The same can also be said for Hong Kong.


Chinese developers are strong in Hong Kong

Google Play does not exist in mainland China, so Android developers in China have an inherent need to take their apps to other regions. Hong Kong is one of the first options for developers in Greater China, and many are currently thriving.

Dot Arena (LemonGameTW)

Released in mid-August by LemonGameTW (a Beijing-based developer with operations in Taiwan and Hong Kong), Dot Arena has been a steady presence at the higher ranks of both the Hong Kong and Taiwan Google Play Top Grossing charts. Spent most of the month of October at #1 in Taiwan, a feat repeated in Hong Kong on October 26th.

Zhen San Guo Da Zhan (Kimi)

Released in late February by Kimi (Taiwan subsidiary of Chinese developer Koram Games)、strategy game "Zhen San Guo Da Zhan" (Chinese title: 真三國大戰-一番武將跨服大戰) spent the entire month of October in the Google Play Top Grossing Top 20 in both Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Tower Of Saviors (Mad Head) 

Released in January 2013 by local Hong Kong developer Mad Head, Tower Of Saviors (Chinese title: 神魔之塔) has excelled in both Hong Kong and Taiwan. In October, it peaked at #2 on the Google Play Top Grossing charts in both regions, and recently spent the entire first week of November at #1 in Hong Kong. 


RPGs and Strategy categories dominate in Hong Kong

Role Playing and Strategy were the top two performing categories on Google Play in Korea in October. The two categories together dominated the Top Grossing charts, possessing a majority (51.6%) of all apps that charted on the Top 100. Casual, Sports, and Action round out the Top 5 categories.

On the Google Play Japan Top Free chart, the Communication category was the most popular, with a category frequency rate (the rate at which a given category appears on a given chart over a given period of time) of 10.5% in October. By comparing the Top Free results with the Top Grossing charts, we see a couple of trends.

For the Sports category, which ranks highly on Top Grossing (4rd) with a low rank on the Top Free charts (20th), it is evident that there are a smaller number of total users but they are demonstrating a much higher-than-average ARPU. Football games perform very well in Hong Kong as demonstrated by the current Google Play Top Grossing charts, where PES Manager (KONAMI) and BFB (nxTomo Games) are in the Top 5.

On the other hand, for the Shopping category, which ranks highly on Top Free (1st) with a low rank on the Top Grossing charts (14th), we can infer that while there are a larger number of total users, they are demonstrating a much lower-than-average ARPU.

On the Google Play Top New Free chart, the RPG category came out on top with a category frequency rate of 13.3%. Once again we compared these results to the Top Grossing charts results.

The Tool category ranks high on Top Free at #7, and had a low rank on the Top Grossing charts (17th), indicating that there are a lot of new tool apps being released but they are operating with much lower than average ARPU users.

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