Windows Phone in the Central Kingdom      

Till this day, how big exactly is the Windows Phone ecosystem is largely a myth. Microsoft is keeping crucial figures all to itself. Over time, many tried to measure the ecosystem with various ways, such as the active users of the Windows Phone Facebook client.

Now WPDang and OpenXLive have decided to do it a bit more scientifically: with consolidated server data of 112 apps and games. Sadly the report only covers the Chinese market, because the majority of these data source apps either make sense only to Chinese users, or are well ranked only in the Chinese Marketplace...

Nevertheless, the report might be interesting to developers elsewhere. As we know it, China has overtaken the US as the largest smartphone market in the world, and is still rapidly growing. There will be plenty of market share for Windows Phone to take. Hopefully the report could answer common questions such as “How big is the market exactly?” “Is it being well accepted by consumers?” “What kind of devices should I consider first when developing something for the Chinese market?”

A few key points of the report are:

  • Windows Phone formally showed up in China extremely late. Now it’s starting at a fairly low point, but it’s been growing at very remarkable speed so far.
  • Nokia rules the entire game, with Lumia 610 being the super star.
  • Current Xbox Live titles are either completely absent in the Chinese Marketplace, or have the social function stripped down. This might give independent developers a better chance by competing on an even ground.
  • Localization and payment issues of the Chinese OS will be addressed soon with the release of Windows Phone 8.

As I have noticed, there are some international developers already trying to court Chinese Windows Phone users. The latest example of such effort is World of Rabbit. The game comes with multilingual UI including Simplified Chinese. Despite the uninteresting font and slightly inaccurate machine translation, the final product is actually quite decent. Kudos to the developer for the effort!

So, what do you think of the report? Any suggestions for improvement? Do you feel the Chinese market of commercial interest? Or do you suggest we should chart the US market somehow? Let us know in the comment field.

And the WPDang & OpenXLive report comes in bilingual flavor (English & Simplified Chinese). To download the whole thing, click here for the news release, find the “English version” link, and just click.