Earlier this year, app store analytics firm App Annie predicted that China could overtake both the U.S. and Japan in terms of revenue generated from iOS applications as soon as this year. The year isn’t yet half over, but that prediction appears to be on its way to coming true: China has just moved past Japan to take the number two position for iOS revenue – up from third place back in January.
The country was already the leader in terms of iOS downloads, a spot it acquired in Q1 2015 following growth in the market influenced by adoption of Apple’s larger-screened devices, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Prior to that, in 2014, China had been the second-largest country for iOS downloads.
But getting apps onto users’ devices and generating revenue from those apps are two totally different things. That’s obvious, too, when you compare iOS downloads and revenue with those from Google Play, for example. Last year, Google Play downloads were 1.5 times that of iOS downloads, but Apple’s App Store still leads in revenue.
According to App Annie, China’s iOS revenue growth grew nearly 2.2 times from Q1 2015 to Q2 2015. This growth is being contributed to in-app purchases, however, not paid app downloads. It’s also almost entirely driven by games – and not just games in general, but several very specific titles, says App Annie.
A handful of core games are helping to contribute to the revenue growth, including Fantasy Westward Journey, Westward Journey Online, Hero Moba, and The Legend of Mir 2.
However, while games are driving the growth for the time being, App Annie notes that games are often a signal of larger trends to come.
That said, because of the revenue these and other titles are generating, China also passed Japan in iOS Games revenue in addition to Overall iOS revenue.
So how close is China to grabbing the number one spot for iOS revenue? App Annie says the U.S.’s lead is still wide – a sizable 30 percent, in fact. But if China’s App Store revenue continues to grow at the same pace, it’s on track to pass the U.S. in the “coming quarters.” This year, perhaps.