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.
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.