Top Chinese players in the Indian mobile market

India’s large population, relatively low smartphone penetration rate, and love of the internet made it appealing to companies and investors from China, even though these two Asian emerging economies...

India’s large population, relatively low smartphone penetration rate, and love of the internet made it appealing to companies and investors from China, even though these two Asian emerging economies are constantly referred as competitors.
Cheetah Global Lab, the research arm of leading mobile tools provider Cheetah Mobile, recently published a report on the China-India internet market. AllChinaTech selected a handful of leading Chinese app developers, smartphone makers, and investors that best represent industry player activities.

Cheetah claims that the report draws heavily from Libra, the global Android analysis platform designed by Cheetah Mobile, that covers more than 50% of global Android users. The following apps all support the Android operating system.
1. Mobile app developers

The secret of Chinese app developers’ success is that they focus on untapped markets, and tailor free apps for markets where internet infrastructure is poor and low-end smartphones dominate the field.

CM Security Antivirus Applock, Shareit, and UC Browser are the three most popular Chinese app developers, which entered the top 15 in ranking among apps in India, based on app weekly active penetration rate. Cheetah Global Lab’s report uses app weekly active penetration rate, which is calculated by app weekly active users (WAUs) divided by India Android market total WAUs.

CM Security Antivirus Applock

Rank in India: 8

Weekly active penetration rate: 40.82%

It is a password manager, and it stores personal information in an easy-to-use way, like Apple’s key string.

Android smartphones have a reputation for retaining junk data and becoming slower and slower. This app claims to be able to clean junk in five seconds.

CM Security Antivirus Applock.


Rank in India: 10

Weekly active penetration rate: 39.78%

With this app, it is very easy to synchronize files among different devices or share data with other users.

Shareit caters to India’s low-end mobile users. Shareit enables users to share almost anything on phones, including apps, games, pictures, videos, music, and files.

What’s more, the app claims it doesn’t require network, a cable, or data traffic.

UC Browser

Rank in India: 1

Weekly active penetration rate: 32.17%

UC Browser makes mobile browsing faster, easier and smarter. The app claims to save up to 60% of data usage while browsing.
The app also provides UC news, facebook mode, ad block, and smart download functions.

2. Smartphone makers

Many Chinese customers have already latched on to the value of the high-end smartphones by Apple, which has ranked among the top five largest smartphone makers over the past few years in the country by shipment, according to market research firm IDC.

India, though, embraces low-priced phones with a high performance to price ratio. Cheetah reported that in late September and early October, Lenovo Group (including Motorola) is the third largest phone company by inventory, and Xiaomi made it to rank among the top 10.

Chart from Cheetah Global Lab.

IDC has slightly different data. It reported that in Q3 2016, when the Indian smartphone market crossed the 30 million unit shipments milestone for the first time, the top four smartphone companies by market share were Samsung, Lenovo Group (including Motorola), Micromax, and Xiaomi.

Chart from IDC.
3. Investors

Industry players believe India is a country that will most probably repeat China’s economic and mobile internet boom. Numerous Chinese companies have began a buying spree in India. The top five investors from China are Tencent, Alibaba, Toutiao, Didi Chuxing and Cheetah Mobile.

Graph from Cheetah Global Lab.


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