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China has 10 times more people, but Japan still outspends on iOS apps

pretty girl ferrari selfie

China downloads the second most iOS apps in the world after the US, but it still spends less money on them than the much less-populated Japan, according to App Annie. The app analytics company’s new Q1 2014 report says China could be catching up to its island neighbor, however, showing exceptional gains in both downloads and revenue. iOS App Store revenue in China grew around 70 percent last quarter.

In Q1 2014, China’s revenue growth was stronger than download growth for the first time. Games accounted for the majority of that rise, followed by travel and social networking apps. App Annie notes much of the revenue growth in games came from WeChat’s gaming platform.

On the last day of the quarter, four of the top five grossing games for iPhone in China were published by Tencent for the WeChat platform.

In Q3 2013, China rose to the third ranking country in terms of revenue on iOS, and it’s been gaining on Japan for several consecutive quarters. App Annie attributes the country’s latest growth spurt to the deal struck between Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and China Mobile (NYSE:CHL; HKG:0941), the world’s largest mobile carrier with 700 million subscribers, to sell a compatible version of the iPhone. In February alone, the deal resulted in one million new iPhone users.

Per capita, the Chinese still have a long way to go before they’re paying as much for apps and mobile content as the Japanese. But as a whole the Chinese market could soon usurp Japan to be second biggest spender worldwide.

Update: It’s also worth mentioning that iOS accounts for 68.7 percent of the smartphone market in Japan, whereas in China it’s only about 19 percent, according to TNW.

See: Japan and South Korea spend the most money per capita on apps

In addition to the report, you can compare the top free, paid, and grossing iOS apps from different countries on App Annie’s interactive app matrix.


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Posted in app annie, apple, china, china mobile, data series, iOS, Japan, Mobile, Q1 2014Comments (0)

US gaming company: “We hope it is no longer possible for FLAPPY BIRD to return to the App Store”

flappy-bird-cockblocked

Apparently the news cycle is not finished with Flappy Bird, and it’s high-yet-low profile creator Dong Nguyen. Vietnamese newspapers recently reported that Nguyen is now in San Francisco, last seen attending a yacht party in the bay. Just before that, Rolling Stone had its extended exclusive with the enigmatic creator which revealed that he might bring back Flappy Bird to the App Store and Play Store in the future.

But the dark forces have landed on the Flappy Bird trademark, and it’s possible that if Flappy Bird does return to the App Store, an American company called Ultimate Arcade Inc will do everything in its power to stop it. In an email to Tech In Asia, Ultimate Arcade Inc has set down its ultimatum:

UAI believes it’s rights in the Flappy mark are superior to any Dong Nguyen may have in Flappy Bird, and we have already advised the App store of this. We hope it is no longer possible for Flappy Bird to return to the App store.

Ultimate Arcade Inc claims that is has been using the Flappy (yes, that does not include the word Bird) trademark since 2006 in games like Flappy. Now, it seems Ultimate Arcade Inc knows that the law in the USA is not set in stone:

In the meantime, however, because a federal registration is not a prerequisite to stopping illegal trademark infringement in the US, UAI intends to fully pursue and enforce its common law rights arising through its extensive and previously exclusive use of the mark Flappy.

It echoes previous landgrabs for trademarks like when Paris Hilton sued Hallmark for infringing on her use of the phrase “That’s Hot!” or Walmart trying to get the trademark for the yellow happy face. This even happened with a game like Candy Crush. Ironically, some of these cases are actually won by the companies that file them. It’s therefore within reason that Ultimate Arcade Inc could win a case against Dong Nguyen if it came down to it.

The original Flappy game from Ultimate Arcade Inc is a web-based game.

The original Flappy game from Ultimate Arcade Inc is a web-based game.

Ultimate Arcade Inc is especially concerned that others will confuse its Flappy game as a clone of Flappy Bird even though its game came out over 6 years earlier:

The confusion is so extreme that Ultimate Arcade’s own 8-year-old FLAPPY game is now often viewed as just another clone and is not yet being allowed by that name in the Apple iOS Store.

Whether or not this is unethical is another story altogether. It’s also not clear if Apple and Google will accept Ultimate Arcade Inc’s claim to Flappy is up for grabs. Especially given that these companies are both blocking apps with the name Flappy in them.

In the meantime, it looks like Dong Nguyen is enjoying himself. He is arguably still one of the world’s most enigmatic and famous engineers.


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Posted in apple, bitch move, dong nguyen, Flappy Bird, gaming, Google, mobile gaming, Rolling Stone, startups, ultimate arcade incComments (0)

Patrick Grove, Richard Branson and Steve Wozniak in search for talent in APAC

They want to find Asia Pacific’s top tech superstars. What does that mean, and should you participate?

talentunleashed

The search is on. Malaysia’s Catcha Group CEO Patrick Grove will be joining the likes of Virgin Group’s Sir Richard Branson and Apple’s Steve Wozniak to scour talent in Asia Pacific, as part of the 2014 Talent Unleashed Awards.

Patrick Grove, CEO, Catcha Group

Patrick Grove, CEO, Catcha Group

The programme, organised by Australia-based recruitment company Talent International, is now in its second year. The company provides IT&T (Information technology and telecommunications) recruitment services to companies in Asia Pacific and Europe.

The 2013 Winner of Talent Unleashed, Duncan Ward, published his story on the official website. His non-profit organisation Classroom of Hope gives children in third world country the access to education.

While Talent Unleashed sounds like a good way to uncover hidden treasure, is the programme only for technology startups?

An official release noted that Patrick Grove is joining Richard Branson and Steve Wozniak to find technology superstars. However, Classroom of Hope seems more like a typical non-profit organisation which uses the Internet to raise funds for its non-technology driven programmes (building a school). Are children using technology to learn now? That was unstated. It will definitely be enlightening to see how this programme will showcase bright tech talent, and not just talent who use technology.

Other judges include Clifford Rosenberg, Managing Director for LinkedIn Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia; Joel Neoh, CEO at Groupon Malaysia and Taiwan, and Co-Founder of Youth Asia; and Richard Earl, Founder and Managing Director, Talent International.

In the official statement, Grove was quoted as saying, “Talent Unleashed … not only provides entrepreneurs with a chance to be recognised for the transformative work that they have produced for their community or industry, but it puts them in front of some of the most influential entrepreneurs alive today.”

Read Also: Infor to strengthen focus on ASEAN region

Of course, he added that he wished such opportunities were available back in the day. For the record, he had started Catcha in 1999, which only became profitable after seven long years.

Applicants interested to take part in the 2014 Talent Unleashed Awards should take note that there are a total of six awards: Rising Star, Inspirational Leadership, Best Startup, Digital Content, Community Impact, and People’s Choice.

The winners will be announced in an awards ceremony in Sydney Australia in July, and will gain a place at a five-day business innovation workshop at the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship in South Africa. Entries close 10PM Malaysia Time (MYT), May 20, 2014.

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Posted in apple, australia, catcha group, Malaysia, News, Patrick Grove, Richard Branson, steve wozniak, Talent Unleashed, Virgin GroupComments (0)

China Mobile says most of its 4G subscribers are using iPhones

Shanghai 4G

“Most of our 1.34 million 4G users are using an iPhone,” said China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua today. He was speaking in the post-earnings conference call after China Mobile (NYSE:CHL; HKG:0941) released its Q4 financials, reports Reuters.

China Mobile rolled out 4G on December 18. On that day Mr. Xi said that the telco giant aims to sell 100 million 4G on-contract phones in 2014 thanks to greater subsidies. However, this 1.34 million number shows that target will be tough to hit – perhaps even an impossible task.

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) long-awaited deal for the iPhone with China Mobile arrived a week after the 4G launch. Tim Cook and Xi visited a China Mobile store in Beijing to celebrate the new partnership.

(See: China ends 2013 with a total of 417 million 3G subscribers)

China Mobile now has 776 million users, of whom 28 percent are signed up for 3G. The telco could find it tough to persuade its 3G subscribers to shift to 4G without offering lower data package prices.

In other news from China Mobile’s Q4 earnings, the company saw a shock drop in profit, falling to $4.89 billion in that quarter. The huge costs of its 4G rollout were the likely cause.

The full Q4 document is here (PDF).

Tim Cook appears in Beijing store for today's iPhone launch on China Mobile - 0

Tim Cook and Xi Guohua in Beijing in December.

(Source: Reuters)


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Posted in 4g, apple, apple in china, Apple iPhone, china, china mobile, data series, gadgets, iPhone, LTE, Mobile, News, q4 2013, TD-LTEComments (0)

Pocket guide to Vietnam’s mobile market in 2014

Vietnam is the fastest growing smartphone market in Southeast Asia. Here’s a pocket guide to conquer the mobile market in the country

idome / Shutterstock.com

Vietnam is moving fast away from feature phones (Image for representation purpose only) Image Courtesy: idome / Shutterstock.com

Vietnam will see more than 17 million smartphone shipments in 2014. The market will keep growing and attract more attention from investors in Asia. Here are a few trends this year to keep in mind when entering this market.

Cross-platform and freemium
There are more and more Vietnamese users who own more than one device and use second-screens daily. Make your app accessible on multiple platforms. This would increase its reach and also increase chances of monetisation. Another on-going trend of 2014 is the freemium app model, which also proved to be the most successful monetisation model in 2013.

In-app advertising
As a result of cross-platform apps, the coverage of mobile apps over the country keeps increasing. This will open more opportunities for mobile ads and in-app marketing.

Mobile-focused social messaging apps such as Zalo, Viber, LINE, WhatsApp are growing their monthly active users at tremendous rates, meaning consumer interest in communicating on these platforms and mobile devices in general is high. Mobile ads on these platforms can span over devices and across operating systems, increasing reach and frequency through a device that rarely leaves consumers’ side.

Although it is not a new trend, it still presents a massive opportunity for businesses to get in front of their customers.

Niche mobile social network
As Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and other giant OTTs in Vietnam make it harder to get found organically, niche market are going to be more valuable than ever to get in front of customers. Not only are niche social network highly targeted, they can also provide a much more affordable solution for advertising.

These niche markets will be hotter and hotter this year. At the moment, there are some social networking services that have already hit the market, such as onClan – social network for mobile gamers, Ubox – social network to connect people with the same interests, Bubbly – social network and messaging to share voice.

Read Also: Pocket guide to Vietnam’s mobile market in 2013

Mobile games
Games continue to be the most downloaded and most revenue-generated content on mobile. The numbers of paid users in mobile games online is nearly equal to PC games online. That means Vietnam will continue to be a promising land for game developers and publishers in 2014 . Also, there will be more games in the categories of 3D, MOBA, MMORPG, card game, tower defense online and casual games.

View the slides below to get a better overview of Vietnam’s mobile market:

Views are of the author, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them

e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested to share your point of view, please send us an email to writers[at]e27[dot]co

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Posted in android, apple, Appota, Country, gaming, Guest Article, iOS, iTunes, Mobile, News, partnership, South East Asia, technology, vietnamComments (0)

Compared to the iPhone 5s, this chart shows the iPhone 5c has bombed in China

Compared to the iPhone 5s, this chart shows the iPhone 5c has bombed in China

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) isn’t going to tell everyone precisely how much of each model it sold in every country, so we need to find an alternative source of data to dig up some insights about its phones. One such good source in China is Umeng, which is like China’s answer to Flurry.

If we look at the the latest report from Umeng – the one my colleague looked at in relation to China’s 700 million smartphones and tablets – we get a good idea of the popularity of the iPhone 5c relative to the 5s. Or, to be more exact, its unpopularity.

As Ben Evans spotted in the report, the slightly cheaper 5c has bombed. This chart, which we’re remade and translated from the Umeng analytics, says it all:

Compared to the iPhone 5s, this chart shows the iPhone 5c has bombed in China

What it shows is that in the fourth month from the launch of the iPhone 5s in China, the model accounted for 12 percent of active iOS devices on Umeng’s app analytics network. The cheaper 5c, in contrast, only accounted for slightly less than two percent. While the 5s has rocketed, the 5c barely took off – and now it’s struggling even to go upwards.

See: The average price of a new Android phone in China? A mere $233

Observed usage doesn’t equate to sales – and there are no absolute numbers for the quantities of each phone models in the country – but this data is an still indictment of Apple’s strategy of remaking the previous year’s model in a plastic wrapping. Chinese consumers weren’t fooled by the marketing, and they aren’t buying the 5c.

It’s not all bad news for Apple in China. Clearly the 5s is being taken up more quickly than the iPhone 5 was in 2012.


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Posted in apple, apple in china, china, data series, gadgets, iPhone, iphone 5, iPhone 5C, iphone 5s, Mobile, SmartphonesComments (0)

The Internet of Things becomes the Quantified Self

Posted in apple, ARM, Google, Grotech Ventures, Guest Article, iOS, iwatch, nest labs, Sensinode Oy, technology, The Internet of Things, Valhalla Partners, wearable technology, ZonoffComments (0)

Apple to open hundreds of franchise shops in 2nd-tier Indian cities

india ipad

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is gunning hard for India these days, moving out of its comfort zone to gain a foothold in the price-sensitive emerging market.

Times of India)

(Editing by Steven Millward)


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4.14 million new tablets shipped in India last year, iPad is third most popular

India's top tablet brands

Gadget manufacturers shipped 4.14 million tablets in India in 2013, according to new data from IDC today.

While the number sounds small for a nation with over 800 million voting-age consumers, the tablet shipments number is up 56.4 percent from 2012. The boost in numbers is driven mostly by affordable, low-end tablets, says IDC.

While ‘shipments’ don’t equate to sales – and neither does it tell us how many active tablet users the nation has – it’s a useful guide to trends and preferences in the absence of numbers from manufacturers. So which tablet brands do Indian consumers prefer? IDC says that Samsung leads the way ahead of homegrown phone-maker and gadget brand Micromax. Apple’s iPad is third. While Apple has struggled to gain traction for its iPhone in India, it seems that the sleek iPad fairs better in the tablet rankings.

(See: 44 million new smartphones shipped in India in 2013, but feature phones still prevail)

Here’s IDC’s data for market share of 2013 tablet shipments in one pie chart. The huge ‘others’ section suggests a lot of very cheap, little-known tablet brands – possibly Chinese imports – are selling fairly well across the country:

top 5 tablet brands in India (in terms of shipments)

(Creative Commons-licensed photo by Flickr user nevilzaveri)

(Editing by Paul Bischoff)


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Posted in apple, Apple iPad, data series, gadgets, HCL, IDC, India, ipad, Karbonn, micromax, Mobile, Samsung, Samsung in India, tabletsComments (0)

Qihoo’s year-long ban from Apple’s App Store is over, some apps reappear

Qihoo apps return to iOS App Store after lengthy ban

Chinese web company Qihoo (NYSE:QIHU), makers of China’s second most popular search engine, last year suffered the ignominy of being banned from Apple’s iOS App Store. That long ban is now over. Five Qihoo apps are now in the App Store, but not all of them have reappeared. The company had more than 20 iOS published in January 2013, before they were banished.

Qihoo’s apps are restored just as they were pulled – in mystery. Tech in Asia has asked both Qihoo and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) about the situation multiple times in the past year, but neither side has spoken out.

A report in Chinese media last year alleged that Apple banned Qihoo’s apps due to the company’s systematic abuses of the iOS ecosystem, such as manipulating App Store rankings, and encouraging the jailbreaking of iPhones by making iPhone and iPad apps available as downloads outside of the App Store.

Android is China’s mobile OS of choice, so the year-long Apple ban might not have hit Qihoo too hard. Indeed, Qihoo’s most recent earnings report (Q3 PDF is here; Q4’s is due later today) shows that the firm’s suite of mobile apps reached a record 408 million users in September 2013, compared to 149 million in September 2012.

Qihoo’s 360 Mobile Safe, 360 Battery Doctor, 360 Daily Deals, 360 Backup, and Kouxin messaging app are now available in the iOS App Store. But other apps from the company, such as 360 Mobile Browser, have yet to return. Here’s the scene in the App Store right now:

Qihoo apps return to iOS App Store after lengthy ban

(Editing by Josh Horwitz)


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