It’s no secret that Chinese gamers are willing to fork out money. Reports estimate that China’s game industry brought in $9.7 billion in revenue last year across all segments, and the figure could grow to $21.7 billion by 2017.

However, a latest report released by Chinese Android app store Wandoujia – which monitors trends in China’s mobile market based on its downloads — notes that foreign games, even if they are popular in China, are losing out on potential revenue by linking up with Google’s billing system.

China is not Google-friendly

Wandoujia estimates that more than 70 percent of Android smartphones in China lack Google Play services. This has led to Chinese users being unable to make in-app purchases when playing foreign games such as Clash of Clans, which use Google’s in-app billing system.

Wandoujia’s observation comes as its latest data shows that Clash of Clans has chalked up 205,561 monthly downloads to become the top new game on its platform through October. Having a payment system that is friendlier to Chinese gamers would likely help propel Clash of Clans further — but not doing so risks alienating players.

“Games lacking a Chinese payment system not only miss out on potential revenue, they also leave Chinese players locked out of premium game content and feeling frustrated. These gamers are eager to pay, but complain they can’t buy gems in Clash of Clans,” the Wandoujia report notes.

On the other hand, games such as Mini Motor Racing and I’m MT are already offering Chinese players a variety of methods for purchasing in-game content — such as paying via a carrier like China Mobile, using a debit card, or through a payment platform like Alipay.

Chinese photo app MomentCam goes viral

Wandoujia also found in its latest data that daily downloads of MomentCam, a Chinese photo app that has gone viral recently, rocketed upwards for nine days before peaking at almost 54,000 on October 31.

However, as the MomentCam app appeared on Wandoujia only in late October, and a lot of its international rankings were chalked up in the first week of November or after, it doesn’t make an appearance in this report’s rankings. Expect it to make a huge splash in the next report though.

Wandoujia has more than 250 million Android users in China currently — and its monthly reports give much-needed insight into the behavior of Chinese consumers, considering that the country doesn’t operate on a unified Google Play platform as the rest of the world does. To properly tap into the world’s largest smartphone market, foreign firms need to explore options other than Google — and this is a challenge that could be the differentiator between the earning power of various apps.

Headline image via Supercell