In the US, app distribution is relatively straightforward — but in China, the landscape is simply a maze.
China is dominated by Android devices, and although Google Play is available globally, hundreds of other Android app stores flood the market — from the larger players including Qihoo and 91 Wireless to smaller ones such as Wandoujia.
And now, Wandoujia has proven that even as a small player, it has made a name for itself in the Chinese app scene, as it announced that it has secured $120 million in funding, led by Japanese investor Softbank.
This comes after 91 Wireless was bought by Baidu last year for a whopping $1.9 billion, shining the spotlight on alternative Android app stores in China — and letting foreign investors witness how the world’s largest smartphone market has an entirely unique app distribution landscape that makes it ripe for a set of different opportunities.
Wandoujia started out by releasing a desktop manager for Android, not a mobile app. It also focused its efforts on building an app search engine when other companies began building app stores. Now it integrates content across multiple verticals including apps, games, videos and music. In September 2013, Wandoujia also released a video search product.
CEO Junyu Wang formerly worked in user experience at Google, and the company has a global slant, partnering with foreign developers such as Flipboard, Path, Evernote, and LINE to release their products in China. Wandoujia is also going pushing an international product it developed called SnapPea for Windows, which lets users manage the Android ecosystem from their PCs.
Wandoujia has more than 300 million users currently, and the company says that new users added each day “exceed 50 percent of daily Android phone shipments in China.”
Headline image via Spencer Platt/Getty Images