Across mobile and PC games, China is the largest and most lucrative gaming market on the planet, with an annual value of $29 billion. In 2016, mobile gaming alone accounted for 53% of total gaming revenue – reaching $14.6 billion. China is a mobile-first country with cheap, high performing mobile phones, which creates endless opportunities in the gaming market. However, as with any market, unraveling the puzzle and succeeding in the Chinese gaming market is not an easy task without the right approach. To promote your game, the localization process needs to be adapted specifically for the Chinese audience. Creativity, communication, and engagement on different platforms will allow you to define your brand and allow your game to succeed. Here are some key factors you might want to consider when promoting and launching your mobile game in China.
NAVIGATE THROUGH CHINA’S APP STORES
Even with the scalability of IOS, Android is still the most popular mobile operating system within China. However, Google play is blocked in China, but don’t let that discourage your marketing efforts as the Chinese app market is very dynamic and there is a multitude of alternative app stores to choose from. Currently, there are over 200 app stores in China, with the top ones being Baidu mobile assistant, 360 mobile assistant, Myapp app store, MIUI app store, and Huawei app store. Each app store has its own unique regulations, making it crucial for you to know which stores are best suited for your target audience, and which competitors you are up against. The effort to really understand your target audience will definitely pay off with a potential new revenue stream and increased brand awareness.
PARTNER WITH KEY INFLUENCERS
The power of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) needs to be understood if you want to do business in China. Working together with them can help create significant traction for your game. Over the past few years, KOLs have successfully dominated Chinese social media platforms like Weibo, WeChat, and live streaming apps. The content published by the KOL generally becomes viral on the Chinese internet sphere. Gaming companies do not hesitate to call on them for launch operations and get the first feedback about their game. Partnerships with gaming influencers can take the form of crash testing your game to test the gameplay, announcing the next gaming trends, or a step by step review of your entire game.
UTILIZE LIVE STREAMING PLATFORMS & ESPORTS
Live streaming in China has become a frequently used promotion tool and it should come as no surprise given China’s appetite for online entertainment. Mobile esports will also boost China’s esports market further by drawing in more gamers and fans, thanks to its speedy growth and low barrier to entry. The most popular platforms, like Douyu or Huya, have many users, which makes them a great way to reach your target audience, especially in the gaming business.
Douyu, formerly known as AcFun, was founded in 2013. The platform is the leading esports streaming platform in China, which reported to have over 100 million registered members and 15 million daily active users.
Huya Live, a video streaming platform owned by YY Inc. and previously known as YY Live. YY Inc.’s platforms generated almost $ 1.2 billion revenue in 2016 and continues to grow in popularity from well-known Chinese streamers.
GAIN FOLLOWERS VIA WECHAT
WeChat is the largest social network in China with more than 860 million users per month and because of its size and scope it can be quite complex for new companies entering the WeChat sphere. The first step for most will be setting up an official service account. This allows you to promote gaming content, attract followers and link your account to a ‘mini site’ provided within the app itself. The platform will assist you with segmenting consumers in relation to gender, age, and region to reach more potential gamers. WeChat can have a positive impact on your gamer loyalty and increase your reputation.
GENERATE BUZZ THROUGH GAMING FORUMS
Online forums allow both real and potential new gamers to interact with you and with each other to discuss your game while helping you troubleshoot flaws. They can even help you learn about possible improvements to make. Gaming communities in China utilize forums such as, Baidu Tieba, which can be tapped into by promoting your game and creating a solid buzz for your promotion needs.
Social media platforms and localized content marketing are all essential for your gaming promotional efforts, and while there are many other social and online platforms in China, these key components are a necessity if you want to reach the widest and biggest audience. When used the right way your game will certainly gain a massive amount of exposure and have long-term success.