What is the app purchase revenue share in China?

One of the key things that make the Chinese app climate so unique, is that the market is split into hundreds of local app stores and the 3 main domestic phone carriers are government-owned companies.

This dynamic has led to a complex purchase revenue share situation, that is fully dependent on the app type and the type of transaction made in the app.

App developers of regular non-game apps can avoid this maze, as non-game apps are permitted to implement WeChat Pay or Alipay (third-party payment solutions) SDKs, who simply charge a standard rate of 1.8-2% per transaction.

Game app developers, on the other hand, are required to use individual store SDKs, which all vary in purchase revenue share.

Standard App Store Charges

Unlike Google Play and Apple’s App Store, who charge a standard rate of 30% per transaction, most standard Chinese Android app stores take 50% of the revenue from each transaction made through their platform.

This standard purchase revenue share can fluctuate depending on individual store promotions, which can range from 0% introductory charges (usually small to mid-size stores) to special holiday promotions pushing charges up to 90%.

Equally, this charge can also either increase and decrease when specific types of transactions are made.

Combined App Store & Mobile Carrier Charges

When transactions involving local mobile carriers are made on a local app store, the revenue will be divided between the developer, the app store and the mobile carrier. In this case, the developer will give up a 70% share of each transaction, 40% going to the store and 30% going to the carrier.

Standalone Mobile Carrier Charges

If there is a transaction which goes directly through an app store that belongs to one of the mobile carriers (China Mobile, China Unicom or China Telecom), the mobile carrier will usually only charge 30% per transaction for carrier billing.

Summary

Here is a basic breakdown of the purchase revenue share ratios discussed above:

Store SDK ChargesCombined Store SDK & Carrier ChargesCarrier Charges
50%40% + 30%30%

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