If Your App Is Already Available in China, That May Be A Problem

By Todd Kuhns

Oct 10 2019, 07:35am

Most app developers in the USA and Europe don’t keep an eye on in the Chinese app markets. You probably already know that Google Play is blocked in China, which means your app is unavailable to over 70% of the Mainland China market (1.1 billion users).

But if you do a quick search of a few of the top Chinese app stores, you may discover that your app is already available on at least one of them.

If you find it and didn’t put it there, this should concern you. What appears to be your app can only be one of three things:

  • An outdated version, scraped from Google Play. In order to bulk up their offerings, many app stores have scraped apps off Google Play at some point in the past and posted them to their own. Because they won’t bother to scrape again, it’s certainly out-of-date and full of security holes. And because it hasn’t been localized for China, it likely won’t even work.
  • A copycat. Knock-off apps using your logos and other copyrighted content will at best deliver a poor experience and damage your reputation. At worst, it’s riding on your reputation and popularity to serve ads and malware.
  • Your app with someone else’s ads. We sometimes see enterprising hackers copy the premium version of popular apps and provide it for free while inserting their own ads – making money for themselves while depriving you of yours.

How To Protect Your App and Your IP

The best defense against these tactics is to take control. These are the steps we recommend:

1. Register your Copyright and Trademark in China

Chinese law provides copyright protection for software companies to protect your IP in the app marketplace. First registering a Software Copyright Certificate (SCC). This is a multi-step process that you can handle easily in our dashboard.

We recommend going one step further to register your trademark in China. Your brand name, app name, and logo are some of your most valuable assets. Because China is a first-to-apply country, he sooner you register your copyright, the better.

Link: Learn how to register a trademark in China.

2. Reclaim your App

Once you are on firm legal ground, you can contact the Chinese app stores to have unauthorized versions of your app taken down. This is a time-consuming process that will require a fluent Mandarin speaker to contact each store directly, but this is a service that we provide to our customers.

Link: How to Reclaim Your Unauthorized Android App from a Chinese app store.

3. Post your App to the Chinese App Stores

Finally, if you already have a Chinese business license and entity, we recommend distributing your official app to the top 15 Chinese Android app stores yourself so that only your authorized version is available to mobile users in China.

4. Monitor

Just because it’s been done once doesn’t mean it won’t happen again. You can use the free tool in our dashboard to periodically scan the top Android app stores in China for future violations.

The Upside

Making your app available in China yields far greater benefits than simply protecting yourself from counterfeit, fraud and brand damage. It opens up your user base to the whopping 1.1 billion Chinese Android users who cannot access Google Play, greatly expanding your adoption rates and revenue stream.

The AppInChina Advantage

AppInChina’s international English-speaking team of experts can simplify this painful process for you with our exclusive one-on-one service. We can help you localize, publish, grow and monetize your Android app, and help protect your IP from these violations.

Get started with AppInChina today.

Sign up for a free account on our dashboard or send us a message with your questions. We'll put together a custom plan tailored to your needs.