It’s hard to imagine life without Google, but for the more than 1.3 billion people living in China, that’s the reality they’re faced with. Not to worry, however, because Baidu exists, and Baidu is, for all intents and purposes, a Google clone. Why is this important to know? Because when it comes to data about Android in China, it’s difficult to find reliable numbers. Most if not all of the Android devices that are sold in the country have Google’s services stripped out of them, which again, makes tracking difficult. Luckily, Google’s Chinese clone just published a hell of a data set about Android.
First things first, users. Baidu says there are over 270 million people in China using Android. To put that into some perspective, there are 360 million people living in the United States. That 270 million figure is up just 13% from the same period a year ago, whereas last year’s growth was 55%. Is Android slowing down? Technically, yes.
When it comes to actual smartphone adoption, 52% of Android users in Q3 2013 said they’ve upgraded their device from a previous Android phone. The remaining 48% say they’re new to smartphones altogether. Speaking about being new to smartphones, 45% of new smartphone users came from the countryside. This number was 35% just one year ago, showing that lower prices are indeed driving smartphones into more people’s hands.
And what do people do with those phones when they have them? The data shows people use their phones an average of 150 minutes a day, up from 124 minutes a year ago. An incredible 44% of Android phone users depend on WiFi for data, whereas 31% depend on 2G, and only 23% actually use 3G.
Moving our attention to applications, the average Android owner downloaded 10.5 applications per month in Q3 2013. Let that sink in for a moment. That number is up from 8.2 apps per month a year ago. Then there’s the 15% of Android addicts that install at least one app per day. That number is up from 12% a year ago. Where are these apps coming from? One out of five say they side-load, 13% use a search engine like Baidu, while the majority (59%) use an app store of some kind.
Why are any of these numbers important? Because China is the world’s largest smartphone market in terms of units sold. And pretty soon, China is going to be the world’s largest economy. If there’s any potential to make money anywhere, it’s China, which is why people are scrambling to better understand the country.