Will China rule Android?

throughout its history, China has always caught the attention through my culture , its religions , philosophers and many other features. In our techie world, China became famous in the West thanks to multiple production services (as those who have never seen it written “made in China” throw me the first stone), but the Middle Kingdom also has another side, which is found in many of our Western societies: from major industries and companies on whopping turnover figures.

A near monopoly of Chinese manufacturers

the world of smartphones being largely Chinese, it is not surprising to find these giants among builders of our devices: Lenovo, Huawei, Xiaomi, ZTE… They are legion, and if they seem to take second place at first sight in the face of Samsung (Korean), Apple (American), HTC (Taiwan) and many others, do not forget many Chinese carpet manufacturers in the shadow of the great China. Generally the reputation of Chinese devices (including smartphones) leaves to be desired, although things are changing at the same time that the expectations of the users.

Most of them have international ambitions. The opening to the world includes not only risks (legislative, financial etc) but also asked to rework the product in order to adapt it to other markets. We must find a compromise: appeal to the huge Chinese market, appeal to the European market, or appeal to other markets. 

Xiaomi and Meizu make good smartphones but the software interface could block sales in the West

what do you think?

In practice, the presence of China in the market of manufacturers is obvious since the country itself represents a good percentage of users. Small digression, mature markets (European, American and Chinese) begin to saturate, IDC has also planned a year 1.6% growth rate (only Android being in the positive). It is quite low.

China benefits so not only for the success of their companies, but, in theory, also potential users of the applications that many manufacturers pre-install on their devices.

Profits through applications

the number of users of smartphones in China is considerable. With a large market come major companies, it is in the order of things. App Annie statistics, China was the year last in the ranking of countries downloading more apps on iOS, as well as the countries generating the biggest turnover on iOS. All in all, it is quite logical since iOS users are more likely to spend than on Android, so the correlation between the country that downloads the most applications is the one that gets the biggest turnover through applications is obvious.

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here is the ranking according to App Annie. © App Annie

if it is big winner with iOS, China is not yet on the podium of these same rankings with Android apps. She is not even in the Top 10, the first place in the downloads provided by the India (emerging market), one of the best turnover being occupied by the Japan. 2nd place of these 4 rankings is busy each time by the United States. Android is there not therefore a lucrative market for the Middle Kingdom? Or simply not yet?

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the right applications. Left, the games. © App Annie

some Chinese companies are making huge profits. At first glance, we might think that this is only due to its huge market, but it goes further. For example, Tencent who, according to App Annie, is the company who made the biggest turnover in 2016 (the ranking seems to be achieved on revenues, advertising applications will therefore be excluded a priori). Is this success related to Instant Messaging QQ, famous in China but little popular with us? Maybe in China, but in the West the answer again is most obvious: Tencent is the company behind the famous Clash of Clans game where in-app payments are very important. MOBAs lovers know it maybe also because it is also the company behind League of Legends .

International level and globalization

Via Chinese companies, China contributes to the building of the Android ecosystem. Will govern Android, since it is the question that interests us? She pulls some strings and its businesses have a big piece of the pie, but behind Android is before all Google and its AOSP (admittedly, it’s a Open Source but with Google project as Project Manager).

Perhaps we could see the change. The election of the new American president and the promises he has made could well change the situation: he wants to see American, manufactured products to the United States. In short, finished the relocation to amortize costs, iPhone and any other American unit could be produced in the territory. Would certainly not to the taste of Foxconn company China that manufactures the devices Apple, or the Chinese Government that motivates companies to invest internationally. The Chinese president, champion of the international economy, continues to defend the values of globalization and could oppose the policy the new president of the United States seems to want to follow. The diplomatic relations between the two countries already not being optimal, this does not improve things.

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Apple will separate from Foxconn? © AndroidPIT

Let’s go in a purely hypothetical scenario (I go away, I warn you!): this situation occurs, Foxconn manufactures more devices for the USA and the Chinese Government decides to organize a kind of boycott of U.S. products in retaliation. Hope that all economic (or worse) conflict will be avoided.

Would not be in the interest of China to move away from the universe of Android, it’s a universe too important to their economy, but also on their company, and things can still get better for them. If it does not directly control Android, it influences many things in the world of new technologies. Hope that the future will be clearer that it appears to be.

How do you imagine the future of Android in this geopolitical context?

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