Reports > Global Apps & Game Growth Report of July-August 2016
Global Apps & Game Growth Report of July-August 2016
author: Cheetah Lab Cheetah Global Lab 2016-10-21

I. A glimpse at global app markets between July and August

From July to August, 2016, the global app markets witnessed three major events: Closing of European Cup, Opening of Olympic Games, and world-wide craze for Pokémon Go. As Olympic Games came following the European Cup, Olympic apps gained a position in growth ranking lists of many countries between July and August. Meanwhile, Pokémon Go has swept the world since its launch in July, establishing it as a phenomenal game.

The performance of app markets world-wide in July and August was in line with the theme of the world's major events. Under the influence of Olympic Games, live-streaming sport apps world-wide all demonstrated an upward trend. For example, by working with CCTV and China Mobile, Migu Video, the No.1 in Chinese market in terms of growth, provided users with a high-speed and worry-free platform for watching Olympic Games both in broadcasting right and traffic package, achieving a dramatic growth.

The craze for Pokémon Go led to the surge in the growth of virtual GPS apps in the US and Brazil, making this type of apps rank top in the two countries in terms of growth. The US players got high rewards for game by switching sites via virtual GPS addresses, and Brazilian players enjoyed the fun of catching Pokémons by breaking through server restrictions with GPS apps.

In Germany, football apps held 4 positions among the Top 10. Amateur football league apps are all the rage now in Germany, indicating the massive popularity of football among Germans and providing a good model for Chinese Football Association.

In addition, the craze for WhatsCall, an app allowing no-charge call across globe, is sweeping the world, making it rank among the Top 10 in terms of growth in Brazil, Germany, Russia, Japan, and Indonesia.

Example screens of WhatsCall

Users can register with WhatsCall by simply using mobile number as the account number, and gain points by signing in the app every day to enjoy a certain length of no-charge call. When the points are used up, users can obtain extra points by inviting friends, watching ads or completing other tasks. WhatsCall also allows the friends who have joined the app make free-of-charge voice or video calls with each other. The more the friends the user invite to the app, the more benefits they will enjoy.

Example screens of WhatsCall

Maybe this kind of tool app is not new to us, but wise developers of apps understand how to push the most useful tools to users at the time through the right channel, providing them with the most needed tools when they need the tools most. This means that developers not only need to know how to create a good product, but also know how to promote a good product among distributors, while keeping up with the changes of global market to realize precise launch and promotion.

Based on big data of appinsight and with the US, China, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and Germany as research subjects, Cheetah Global Lab conducted an analysis on the growth ranking lists in July and August to find out today's hottest apps in the market and predict global market trend, providing an revealing insight into past and future for app developers world-wide in the era characterized by increasing globalization.

Data description: The growth rankings for July and August are based on the data between July 11, 2016 and August 14, 2016.

The apps are ranked by the week-on-week growth of active penetration rate in the country.

II. Top10 apps in terms of growth in regional markets

1. Chinese market

Observation 1: "Hitch a ride" strategy leads to the big success of Migu in Olympic marketing

Migu Video and Migu Live made a hit in marketing and ranked top in growth during Olympic Games, which was largely attributed to Migu's successful cooperation with China Mobile and CCTV, two giants in their respective industries.

Thanks to the cooperation with CCTV in operation of live broadcasting of Olympic Games, Migu Video stood out among other video apps by ensuring real-time broadcasting of events without delay. Meanwhile, by partnering with China Mobile, Migu launched "10 Yuan for 6G Olympic Traffic Package" campaign to provide a better watching experience, thus perfectly solving the delays in living broadcasting of events on other competing platforms.

In addition to traditional live broadcasting of sport events, Migu Live joined hands with CCTV, Sport Weekly, CRI, PhoenixNet and other media to launch live real-human interaction to enable audience to get a picture of star athletes' sparetime life, while achieving more immersive interviews where extensive interactions between funs and athletes are allowed.

Migu's live programs themed with Olympic Games

Migu Live launched a sequence of exclusive shows such as Rio Talks, Sleepless Rio, Fighting in Rio, and Let's go! Rio to unfold Olympic Games and local features to audience from different perspectives, presenting a panoramic view of Olympic Games and giving an exhilarating watching experience.

Observation 2: DaZhiHui sets foot in the domain of live-streaming apps and female hosts don't dominate the domain any longer

Video Bar is a live-streaming app launched by DaZhiHui (DZH), a well-known finance service platform for investors. Live-streaming video sector is all the rage now in China and live-streaming apps, as opposed to being just about entertainment, are more about delivery of contents. To response to this trend, at the very beginning of promotion of live-streaming app Video Bar, DZH conducted such campaigns such as "Double Seven Gift Festival" and "Double Eight Olympic Games Month" where those who took part in the live-streaming videos had an opportunity to obtain a reward worth 1 million yuan every day based on their ranking, attracting the attention of a large number of users and brought in an array of hosts.

Video Bar has a very clear development path and aims to gain the initiative in finance and economics, especially in the segment of wealth management, by sharing insights into stock market and knowledge about finance and building up fortune through live-streaming videos hosted by folk stock masters and analyzers.

Observation 3: Market players in video convergence gather at the next battlefield and TouTiao gets an upper hand in the competition

TouTiao Video is an video-based product under TouTiao. Similar to TouTiao, it is designed to bring together a wealth of video resources for personalized recommendation to users and invite video Toutiaohao to the platform.

Amidst the fierce competition in the domestic market of news apps, TouTiao also launched its products. Video convergence apps are premised on precise pushing, but like news apps, they are inevitably faced up with the problem of copyrights of video contents. Toutiao's approach of attracting WeMedia people to Toutiaohao platform for publishing their original contents works well in the era of news convergence. Toutiao is facing the challenge of competing with such video contents providers as Youku Tudou, iQIYI and Letv, and it remains to be seen how far Toutiao will go in the future.

2. US market

Observation 1: US players' new trick to play Pokémon Go leads to dramatic growth of GPS apps

The surprising appearance of FAKE GPS on the growth ranking list of the US is largely attributed to the craze for Pokémon Go. "Flying a plane" is a jargon among Pokémon Go players and means positioning to other locations in a cheating way by using virtual GPS app to catch Pokémon and obtain supply items without going out of door. This method allows players to get substantial rewards in a short time.

Example screens of Pokémon Go when a player uses a cheating method

When discovering the inclination, the official developer of Pokémon Go immediately took measures to deal with it by initiating reporting mechanism. If any player is found or reported to have cheating behavior, his or her account will be suspended for several hours and marked as "cheating". The fact that a large number of players risk attempting to "fly a plane" demonstrates the players' fetish for Pokémon Go, which proves itself to be the most successful ever game.

Observation 2: Baseball games complement Olympic Games to make NBC Olympics achieve an astonishing growth in July and August

NBC Olympics is a sport news app renamed by NBC Sports Scores during Olympic Games, with its focus on ball games including American football, basketball, baseball, and soccer. The coverage of all-star game of MLB (Major League Baseball) and warm-up reports of Olympic Games attracted wide attention of sport fans, making NBC Olympics the No. 2 on the growth ranking list of July and August.

Example screens of NBC Olympics

Observation 3: Connecting to classes eliminates worries of parents and teachers about students' education

Two education apps made their way into the growth ranking list of July and August. One is Remind, an app designed to facilitate communication between teachers and parents. It allows teachers to send reminders, assign tasks and homework, or offer comments to students and parents via their phone numbers. Remind does not display phone numbers during its use, a considerate design for Americans, who are not used to use their personal numbers for work.

Example screens of Remind

Another app is ClassDojo, which is targeted at young children and adopts cute cartoons in its design of screen. With this app, parents can be kept informed of their children's study progress and how they perform in the class, and teachers can conduct assessment on performance of students, reward students with badges and interact with parents.

Example screens of ClassDojo

The two education apps share similar functions but totally differ in design style and target users. They cater for students of different ages and allows effective communication with parents in the process of teaching, enabling parents to easily know what is going on during their children's study.

3. Brazilian Market

Observation 1: Even the Olympic Games couldn't steal Pokémon Go's thunder

On the growth ranking lists of the Brazil's market, we often see multiple peer products with super high growth. For instance, as indicated on the growth ranking list of May, the government's blocking of Whatsapp resulted in a huge boom of gateway bypassing products. This July and August also witnessed the outburst of apps for faking GPS locations. FAKE GPS, ranking #1 in the United States, has also topped the growth ranking list of Brazil, the #4, #5 and #7 places of which are also taken by this kind of apps.

What's behind this is the craziness about catching Pokémon after Pokémon Go's entrance to Brazil. In order to become a Pokémon catcher as soon as possible, Brazilian players chose to position themselves to a place where the game is fully accessible by setting up fake GPS locations. This trend has given rise to a sea of fake GPS location apps.

A screenshot of Rio mayor's Facebook

Even the mayor of Rio Eduardo Paes wanted a piece of Pokémon Go. "Hello Nintendo! There are 23 days until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Everybody's coming. You should come on down too," he said to Nintendo on Facebook. He went a step further by imitating the gaming scenes and posting a bunch of combined images of various Pokémons and the Olympic venues, in the hope that Rio Olympics could ride the wave of this fresh craze.

Observation 2: Olympics-related Apps benefited from the Brazil men's football team's winning of the gold medal and rose remarkably

Two Olympics-related apps made it into the top 3 of the growth ranking list. Rio 2016, the official news app for the Rio Olympics, offers game schedules and results, game updates, information about athletes and many more to satisfy global audiences' basic need to follow the games.

The other one is SporTV Rio 2016, a video coverage app specifically developed for Rio Olympics by SporTV, a TV station in Brazil. This app features real-time updates about the games in which Brazilian athletes participated as well as stories and interviews about their preparation for the games.

In particular, the superstar Neymar led Brazil's men's football team to defeat all the opponents in the way and finally win the country's first ever Olympic championship in football. As their trip to the championship drew growing attention from the Brazilian people, it was logical that an app focusing on Brazilian athletes gained popularity and grew significantly.

4. German Market

Observation 1: No one to be missed: GO Dev Team boasts a full portfolio of tool apps

Z Camera, a well-received product from GO Dev Team, is rated as the Best App of 2015 on Google Play in 75 countries. Another app from this company that took a position on the growth ranking list of Germany from July to August was GO Security – a security tool app. By now, Go Dev Team has successfully launched a variety of tool apps for phone cleaning, battery, screen locker, fast transmit and so on, establishing a considerable product portfolio.

Observation 2: Attention, CFA! This is why German Footballis springing up rapidly

Although the German team didn't win the championship of the just-concluded Euro 2016 and the Bundesliga has yet to start, that doesn't reduce any of the German people's passion for football, which is reflected on the growth ranking list for this period. Four out of the top 10 apps are related to football: Football Live Scores GoalAlert, FUSSBALL.DE, LiveScore and SPORT1.

Example screens of FUSSBALL.DE

Once upon a time whenever we talked about the football kingdom, the first thing came to our mind would be Brazil. However, in the global arena of football during the last ten years, Germany has become one of the best-performing teams in international games. This owes much to its all levels of well-established league and junior training systems. FUSSBALL.DE is a noteworthy app for this category, which focuses on amateur football league tournaments and covers 27,000 different levels of football league tournaments every week. By providing real-time updates about game schedule and results, the app not only brings great convenience to amateur players but also makes it much easier for German football clubs to seek talents.

The reason why Chinese football has been disappointing for years is that it lacks a well-developed junior training system, making it rather difficult to search football talents. If these football-related apps in Germany are used in China to gather the information of massive football players, then we are confident that China, with its 1.3 billion populations, will develop a national football team strong enough to dominate the arena of Asia.

5. Russian Market

Observation 1: The "big brother" also wants to know what Chinese products are worth buying

Russian President Putin visited China on June 25th. An important agenda of his visit this time was to boost practical bilateral cooperation, especially in economy and trade. The visit has yielded a series of agreements to facilitate Sino-Russian trade. Chinese goods once again captured the attention of Russian people.

Example screens of Joom

Developed in response to market demands, Joom registered the highest growth in the Russian market from July to August. Joom offers a wide selection of reliable made-in-China products and validated sellers. It supports online payment and nationwide shipping, bringing more reassurance and convenience to Russian consumers along with the purchases they made. Better user experience and more reliable quality will greatly help improve the image of Chinese products in Russian consumers' eyes.

Observation 2: Watching live streaming games has become the warlike nation's new favorite

Example screens of Twitch

Twitch is the most influential and mostly used games live streaming app in the world. Twitch users can watch their favorite game channels and chat with the players they are following. The app covers mainstream battle games such as Call on Duty and League of Legends. The craze for live streaming will probably spread from the game area to other areas and online celeb game broadcasters will be sought after by various live streaming platforms in the future.

6. Korean Market

Observation 1: LG expands into mobile payment by building PayNow – the Korean Version of Alipay

After Samsung Pay boomed the mobile payment market in Korea, the other Internet giants also joined the competition for this market by launching their own mobile payment products. PayNow, which made its way to the ranking list from July to August, is an express payment product developed by LG's U+ department. It uniquely provides the users with the ability to complete an online payment within 3 seconds without any digital certificate or ActiveX control. It also has developed an abundance of partner merchants in regards to offline payment, allowing users to use PayNow to pay offline when shopping with these merchants.

Example screens of PayNow

Now, besides Samsung Pay and LG's PayNow, the Korea's mobile payment market also has Naver Pay, a product developed by Naver, the largest portal site in Korea. Alipay, the mobile Internet tycoon in China, also entered this market by launching "Korea Pay". With the entry of multiple industry tycoons, the competition for the Korean mobile payment market will become more and more intense.

7. Market in Japan

Observation 1: NHK's new way to cover Olympics sets off a craze of watching games via apps

Example screens of NHK Sports

The champion on the growth ranking list of Japan is an Olympics news update app launched by NHK during the Rio Olympics. This app is designed to track the schedule and results of the games in which the Japanese team participated, and has turned out to be a huge success in term of growth. During the Rio Olympics, the coverage by many news apps about the games is in the form of feature stories. However, apps specially developed for a grand event like Olympic Games prove to be more popular with users.

Observation 2: No-charge call apps are trending up for both money-saving and social communication

Two no-charge call apps, WhatsCall and Viber, are among the top ten on the growth ranking list in Japan from July to August. As compared to the flourishing WhatsCall, Viber has its own unique merit. It allows the user to create a Viber account by simply using their phone numbers, and provides a calling screen similar to the one during a regular phone call, allowing the users to have a stronger feeling of familiarity when trying it and to master it more easily.

Example screens of Viber

8. Indian market

Observation 1: Participation is victory! Kindled passion of the Indian people for Olympic Games

The Indian team seldom has impressive performance in the arena of Olympic Games, and ended up with just one silver medal and one bronze medal in Rio. However, that does not affect the Indian people's passion for the event. As the official App for Rio Olympic Games, Rio 2016 topped the growth ranking list of India from July to August.

Observation 2: E-commerce goes offline to tap into the O2O market segment

Fynd is a fashion O2O App on the list. All online, the users can browse nearby fashion shops, and get the item information and recommendations about dressing from the designers. After getting a full understanding of what they need, the users can visit the stores in person to make purchases.

Example screens of Fynd

Unlike AliExpress ranking the third, Fynd is more focused on market segments and online pre-sale experience. The rise of such an App is a sign that India is ushering in an era of segmented e-commerce market. More outstanding O2O Apps targeting different market segments will emerge.

Observation 3: Short video aggregation Apps are on the rise, and domestic developers are getting prepared

VuLiv Infinity Player is a short video aggregation App developed by VuLiv, a local developer in India. The App collects an abundance of video resources from hundreds of channels every day, and pushes them to users. Such kinds of Apps also are on the upsurge in China. Given present trends, video aggregation will become another battlefield for aggregation Apps after news aggregation. Thanks to the rapid growth of mobile Internet, India is catching up with China in many areas. Outstanding Apps of local developers are no longer the result of copying, and Indian developers are standing at the front and gearing up for what will come.

9. Indonesian market

Observation 1: AliExpress is determined to win Indonesia's e-commerce market

Statistics show that only 2% Indonesians are online shoppers, and e-commerce just accounts for 1% of total retail sales. With penetration of smart phones and the rising spending power of the middle class, the Indonesians are becoming increasingly attentive to online shopping. As predicted by the market research company Euromonitor, Indonesia's e-commerce market is expected to grow by 5 times from 2015 to 2020.

However, logistics remain as the biggest barrier to the development of e-commerce in Indonesia, a nation of 17,000 islands with weak traffic infrastructure. As an expert in logistics, Ali's future steps in the logistics sector of Indonesia are worthy of attention.

Observation 2: BIGO LIVE ready to spark frenzy for live broadcasting in Indonesia

Unlike the national prominence in China, live broadcasting Apps are treated quite indifferently in the neighboring Indonesia and none of them had appeared on the list until an App called BIGO LIVE made it this July and August.

Example screens of BIGO Live

BIGO Live is a live broadcasting and social App invested by YY Inc, who has successfully introduced YY Live and Huya Live to the Chinese market. With a sound technical base and resources, YY Inc has become the dominant player in Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, and other Southeast Asian markets.

One thing worthy the attention of Chinese live broadcasting Apps is that despite limited broadcasters in Indonesia, BIGO LIVE has introduced popular broadcasters from other nations to enrich what the platform has to offer. Given the serious homogeneity of Chinese live broadcasting platforms, introduction of overseas broadcasting contents may be another new tipping point.

III Top 10 games by growth in each country

Observation 1: Suicide Squad becomes super-popular across the US, heating up two games

Suicide Squad, a movie produced by DC Comics and Warner Brothers, has topped the box office in the US for three consecutive weeks since its launch on August 5.

Poster of Suicide Squad

This movie has ignited the passion of comic fans, which has extended to the game market. We see that Suicide Squad and Injustice, both of which are related to this movie, are among the growth ranking list for games from July to August.

Example screens of Suicide Squad and Injustice

Previous reports reveal that whenever a superhero comics movie comes out, it will be accompanied by a craze for related games, which is especially true in the US and European markets. After Suicide Squad, Doctor Strange will debut in the North America in November. By the time Doctor Strange, the coolest magician character of Marvel, meets with the audience, there should be frenzy for derivative games of Marvel in the game market.

Poster of Doctor Strange

Observation 2: Clash of Queens, another masterpiece of Chinese developer, becomes popular in Japan and Korea

Clash of Queens (COQ) topped the growth ranking list of both Japan and Korea from July to August, and made it into top 3 in Russia. This game is developed by Elex Wireless, developer of the renowned strategy game – Clash of Kings (COK).

Example screens of Clash of Queens

Similar to COK, COQ is also a war strategy game with a variety of magic elements. Players can join in coalitions to compete with other players worldwide. By virtue of the popularity and user base of COK, COQ quickly went viral in Japan and Korea.

According to appinsight statistics, COQ has the largest market share in Russia in terms of active penetration. Heavy-game countries like Indonesia, the Philippines and India contribute more to this than the US and European countries.

Active market penetration of Clash of Queens from July to August (Data source: appinsight)

Although the market size of Japan and Korea is relatively small, user recognition in these two countries with highly developed game industry is a crucial issue that must not be overlooked in global promotion of games.

It is the outstanding interactive design, more global-themed background and cross-server competition of worldwide players that contribute to the success of COK and COQ. COQ has perfectly repeated the success of COK, reflecting the market demand for such games and the strength of Chinese game developers.

Below are the top 10 games by growth of each market from July to August


1.Unless otherwise specified, the data originates from 3.099 billion installations worldwide and 623 million monthly active users of Cheetah Mobile;

2.The data is collected from daily usage of Cheetah products in accordance with applicable laws and regulations;

3. The list is applicable to Android platforms only;

4. The data is subject to user scale and distribution of Cheetah products.

Copyright Clarify

Copyright ownership of data, conclusions, images, graphics and other components in this report belongs to Cheetah Data.Any media, websites, individuals or organizations share not be uploaded, posted, modified, distributed, reproduced, or used in other ways without permission.

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