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Thanks to the incredible popularity of its devices, Apple may have one of the strongest software ecosystems out there, if not the strongest. If you're a developer and you're looking to strike it rich, there are few ecosystems that can compare.

In reality, of course, your chances of hitting the jackpot in the App Store are probably about as high as winning a lottery. The competition is fierce and most developers don't see their apps don't fly off the shelves. While that doesn't mean developers will flee Apple's ecosystem any time soon, it does pose a risk for Apple, who must look for new ways to keep developers on its side.

At WWDC this week, Apple may have found a way to do just that: China.

As reported by AllThingsDigital's John Paczkowski, Apple is increasingly earning big bucks in the world's most populous nation. In the company's last fiscal quarter, it counted $7.9bn in revenue from China, a three-fold year-over-year increase, and in the first half of the year, it has already produced nearly as much revenue from China as it did in all of 2011.

With the number of Chinese consumers calling themselves Apple customers rapidly growing, it's no surprise that Apple used WWDC to point out new software features geared for the Chinese market. These include Baidu search in Safari, as well as Siri support for Mandarin and Cantonese.

And it's no surprise that Apple wants developers to get involved. During his presentation, Apple VP Craig Federighi told WWDC attendees, "The Mac has been growing fantastically well in China" and issued a challenge to developers: "Get your apps ready for China."

Of course, that's probably easier said than done. China is a huge opportunity to be sure, but for many developers, tapping into the market will be difficult. There are obvious language and cultural barriers, and as we've seen with web-based services, when something gets popular in the United States and Europe, chances are entrepreneurs in China will build a homegrown clone for the Chinese market.

With this in mind, the Chinese opportunity for Apple developers will probably look like all the other Apple ecosystem opportunities: Apple will make incredible amounts of money, a few developers will make a lot of money and most developers will watch in awe.

Patricio Robles

Published 12 June, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (2)

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Jbelkin

So because not every app is a success - your recommendation is not to bother to try. Why bother eating breakfast, you'll jut be hungry in a couple hours ... You must be a pill to live with. In case you haven't noticed, there's no free lunch in life - if you graduate college, you are not promised a billion dollars. Apple provides you free tools to build apps - and then charges you a nominal fee to be register as a developer. There are about 800,000 apps on iTunes (some dupes between the iPad & iPhone) - even if only 100,000 make money and even if only 50,000 made the developer millions with a few billion dollar ideas (angry birds) ... What other lottery only has 800,000 entries with a BILLION dollar payout possibility? Angry birds literally started outin a living room - apple has built a powerful road that leads to riches with just your time and programming skills ... They provide a secure storefront, distribution and even free advertising ... They don't promise you a living but an opportunity ... Instead you just complain that not every app is a billion dollars in the developers. Honestly, do you look at every situation like that? Are you that pessimistic about life or you only do things for immediate monetary returns. Maybe you should find another line of work.

about 4 years ago

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Old Timer

Angry Birds did NOT start in a living room. It was a well funded business and Angry Birds was their 52nd game which failed once then only worked on relaunch. The company despite funding was about to go bust.

You need luck to hit in the App Store. Either that or a lot of promotional money

about 4 years ago

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