Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

How much do the Chinese love their Apple iPads?

December 22, 2011: 8:13 AM ET

A lot. Despite delayed launches, they download nearly as many iPad apps as U.S. users

Share of U.S. and Chinese iPad app downloads. Source: Distimo

Consider this:

  • The original iPad didn't go on sale on mainland China until September 2010, five months after its U.S. launch.
  • The iPad 2 arrived in May 2011, two months after its U.S. launch, and even then just in Wi-Fi-only versions.
  • The 3G iPad 2 finally launched in China in September, six months after it was available in the U.S.
  • Apple's (AAPL) App Store began accepting payments in Chinese Yuan on Nov. 19, less than five weeks ago.

Given all that, it's quite remarkable that in November, nearly as many iPad apps (44% to be precise) were downloaded in China as in the U.S., as shown in the flag-colored pie chart at right.

The chart was taken from a Distimo report issued Thursday. Among its other findings:

  • Chinese downloads of iPad and iPhone apps, relative to the U.S., grew from 18% in January 2011 to 30% in November.
  • Despite the geometric growth of its competitors' app stores -- apps for Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows Phone 7, for example, grew 400% this year -- Apple still still dominates. It's iPhone app store is No. 1 and its iPad app store No. 3 after Google's (GOOG) Android Market.
  • Although Google's OS has the lion's share of the smartphone market, revenues generated by Android apps lag far behind Apple's. As the chart below shows, the iPad generates more than double and the iPhone nearly four times the revenue of Google's Android Market.

Source: Distimo

The full Distimo report is available here for €699 ($912.75).

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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