How Uber Scaled The Nice Wall, Or 5 Ideas For Buying Cellular Customers In China

How Uber Scaled The Great Wall, Or 5 Tips For Acquiring Mobile Users In China

Edith YeungCrunch Community Contributor

Edith Yeung is a companion at 500 Cellular Collective.

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China is the most important smartphone market on the earth. It’s no shock, then, that Uber has dedicated greater than $1.2 billion on this coming yr to profitable the market. After simply 12 brief months, Uber has gone from one % to someplace between eleven and 30 % market share (stats appear to range extensively), with plans to broaden to one hundred new Chinese language cities this coming yr.

I’ve been touring forwards and backwards between the U.S. and China since 2011. I’ve discovered so much from my associates and colleagues concerning the variations between the 2 markets — particularly within the cellular area. Belief me, it’s difficult — however the fundamentals are comparable. I needed to share 5 sensible ideas that the majority cellular-targeted corporations neglect to do when getting into China, however that I feel Uber has accomplished exceptionally nicely.

Rebrand And Decide A Chinese language Identify

This can be a tremendous primary, however necessary level that so many corporations fail to do. Chinese language individuals won’t seek for any app in English. Choosing an applicable Chinese language identify is essential in your launch in China. This may sound rudimentary, however many — too many — cellular app corporations don’t localize on this easy means.

Uber did an excellent job and picked 优步 — which additionally means “good journey.” LinkedIn selected 领英 — which suggests “greatest expertise.”  You’ll additionally discover there are fairly a number of Chinese language apps and web sites which have numbers as a part of their identify, like 6rooms (, fifty eight (www.fifty and 51Job ( Numbers typically sound like Chinese language phrases and imply one thing else. For instance, within the case of 51job, one of many prime job-searching websites in China, the sound of fifty one means “I would like.”

There isn’t a great way for somebody who’s non-Chinese language to select the suitable, culturally applicable identify, so I extremely advocate you rent native Chinese language natives or a advertising company to assist on this.

Optimize For Third-Social gathering App Shops

Keep in mind this above all: China is all about app shops. Attaining a excessive rank throughout main third-social gathering app shops (outdoors of the Apple App Retailer and Google Play Retailer) is vital. Naturally, the upper the rating, the extra installs you’ll be able to drive. Prime positions in a few of the main apps shops, that are typically housed inside different mega-apps, can probably drive tens of millions and even tens of tens of millions of customers.

How Uber Scaled The Great Wall, Or 5 Tips For Acquiring Mobile Users In China

Uber on a 3rd-celebration Chinese language app retailer.


To realize optimum value per set up, you need to continuously regulate your paid consumer acquisition methods and mix with social media, group administration, set up exchanges and on-line and offline advertising campaigns which might be closely localized. Don’t overlook: The extra installs you get by way of paid channels, the costlier it will get to maintain.

The identical U.S. ideas and theories for app retailer search engine optimisation applies for Chinese language app shops. A/B check the Chinese language titles, descriptions, key phrases, tags and app class.

As well as, as an alternative of Google Play or Apple’s App Retailer, there are lots of of third-get together shops you’ll be able to work with to drive installs. Listed here are the preferred:

Leverage On-line And Offline Paid Advertising Channels

China’s market is concurrently refined and completely old skool. As such, many corporations fail to understand the facility of conventional, grassroots advertising in China. Road campaigns, handing out coupon codes and fliers in malls and even sales space babes (one of many largest advertising developments proper now) stay extremely efficient. Small incentives, like 5 RMB given for downloading an app, work extraordinarily nicely. Chinese language shoppers will not be as cynical as People and Europeans about advertising, and nonetheless respect issues like prizes and presents.

It’s additionally necessary for Western cellular corporations to comprehend that PR doesn’t work the identical means in China. Press just isn’t earned by pitching reporters, however is extra typically purchased by way of presents, dinners and occasions. It’s simply the best way issues work there.

The method and nuance of shopping for paid installs by way of advert networks is similar to the way it works within the U.S., however make sure you use native Chinese language networks, like the next:

Some experimentation with networks shall be vital. Totally different advert networks are higher for various sorts of apps, and every will drive a selected sort of consumer. Solely double down once you’ve discovered the best community that brings you the proper of consumer. Typically these customers can grow to be pretend -– however hopefully pretend customers will drive a bump within the app retailer rankings and can drive actual customers by way of larger visibility.

Lastly, there’s loads of alternative to get pre-put in on smartphones throughout the varied layers of the availability chain: OEMs, distributors even retailers. It’s widespread apply in China to open product packing containers from OEMs and set up apps at every stage earlier than it goes to the buyer. Clearly, the sooner within the provide chain, the broader the influence. No matter the way you get pre-put in, you’ll be perceived as bloat-ware by the savvier Chinese language shopper.

Drive Installs From Mega Apps

How Uber Scaled The Great Wall, Or 5 Tips For Acquiring Mobile Users In China

Uber promo by way of Baidu.

Along with driving installs by way of advert networks, you can even purchase installs from mega apps like information apps (今日头条, or Toutiao), messaging apps (WeChat) and even courting apps (陌陌, or Momo).

For instance, Baidu Maps integrates with Uber. If you get instructions from one place to a different, Baidu Maps will recommend Uber as one of many transportation choices. In an analogous partnership vein, Lyft is now working with Didi Kuadi to supply rides for its customers in China. Discovering the appropriate mega-app associate might be the distinction between success and failure within the Chinese language market.

Don’t Get Distracted By Copycats

Many apps which have significant traction in China are assured to be copied. Sadly, most corporations don’t understand that this can be a great point! The world’s greatest apps all have native copycats. It must be a lift of assured that your app is working. Examples embrace WeChat initially cloning Kakao Speak or TalkBox, or Didi Kuadi, which has finished a superb job of scaling up and difficult Uber. Now, even scammers are popping up. All this simply factors to the truth that there’s actual cash flowing throughout the product-market — and it’s truly a really constructive signal.

The great factor for smaller app copycats is that the appropriate native associate might help be sure that any copycat apps are faraway from app shops. Make buddies and discover native allies that will help you work immediately with app-retailer editors. Simply keep targeted on your small business and proceed to execute by following China’s guidelines.

I hope these 5 easy ideas offer you a head begin. China is a multi-layered nation, however when you get the fundamentals proper, you’re off to a robust begin on the earth’s largest cellular market.

If you can also make it in China, you can also make it anyplace.

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