Google Play’s Purnima Mehta: After four years of change, Chinese app developers aspire to reach a global audience

Google Play’s Purnima Mehta: After four years of change, Chinese app developers aspire to reach a global audience

Purnima Mehta, Global Vice President of Google Play

Purnima Mehta, Global Vice President of Google Play Credit: TN Global

The article was first published on 动点出海微信公众号(TN Global WeChat Official Account)

After the era of going global, China’s overseas expansion through mobile applications is entering a new period of development.

Take the gaming sector as an example. According to data previously released by Adjust, in 2022, the total overseas revenue of Chinese games reached $17.3 billion, which is equivalent to 60% of the country’s domestic gaming revenue, and saw Chinese firms capture a 15% share of the global mobile gaming market, which is valued at $110 billion. Furthermore, Adjust also points out that there is still significant room for growth in the overseas revenue of Chinese games, with the projection that this figure will increase to $26.5 billion by 2026. Correspondingly, nearly 80% of Chinese app developers have plans to go global.

It is not difficult to observe that although the growth rate of the mobile application market has begun to fall back to the pre-epidemic level gradually and domestic competition is increasing, both enterprises and individual developers are increasingly considering the overseas market as a necessary option.

Purnima Mehta, Global Vice President of Google Play. Credit: TN Global

Recently, at the 2023 Google Developers Conference, TNGlobal had the honor of having a conversation with Purnima Mehta, the Global Vice President of Partnerships at Google Play, about the recent changes in the overseas expansion of Chinese developers and the prospects of this new wave of Chinese developers going global.

Mehta was last in China four years ago. Based on her experiences in engaging with Chinese developers during this period, she noted a significant change at the developer level. Previously, Chinese developers focused on the Chinese market and gradually expanded globally. However, Chinese developers are now starting with a global perspective. She notes that Chinese developers are more ambitious, with many aiming to reach a global audience, even small companies. 

Google Play announces awards at the end of each year, selected based on different local markets. Notably, 48 Chinese applications received Best of Play awards from 23 markets and regions at the end of 2022. According to Mehta,  “This shows that Chinese developers truly understand the demands of different local markets.”

Mehta also pointed out several factors behind Chinese developers achieving such broad success in overseas markets. Firstly, the size of the Chinese domestic market is immense, so Chinese developers are accustomed to working in a market on a very large scale. Secondly, China has long emphasized overseas markets. Therefore, developers naturally have a global mindset. Thirdly, there are abundant resources. She mentioned that China has a vast talent pool, capable of building large teams.

“I’ve seen a statistic that there are 110 million developers in China with significant development capabilities. So it’s hard to imagine the scale of developer teams and talent, as well as their testing capabilities,” Mehta told us. “The export-oriented mindset and the enormous market size lead Chinese developers to consider that their applications should be adaptable to various devices from the design stage. Unlike other markets, where the audience may be smaller and limited to specific types of devices, Chinese developers do not face such constraints. Additionally, China has a strong developer community that helps each other. Many people have undergone significant training, and this community fosters a great development atmosphere.”

With the mobile app global expansion track becoming increasingly competitive, the challenges in this field are also getting tougher. Regarding this, Mehta offered several suggestions. Firstly, in any industry, you must learn from the best in that industry. All Google and Android tools are open. So, you should not attempt shortcuts or rush to market your app; instead, focus on quality. The competition in this market is fierce, so you must learn from the best.

Secondly, you must understand what users need and what kind of value proposition you can provide. If your app is just like the others on the market, it’s hard to be successful. Therefore, while you need to learn from the best, you must also have your unique qualities.

“Thirdly, always remember to prioritize user trust and security. Once trust is lost, users are lost. Also, every time someone asks ‘what is it,’ I like to emphasize ‘how it’s done.’ I think you should consider yourself a user and use all these apps. So, start by being a user yourself, download as many apps as possible, and try them out. This is the easiest and simplest way to judge what is good and what is not. In China, there is a fantastic developer community. We have a very active group called the Google Developer Community, so Chinese developers should participate in these communities to exchange and learn. There is a lot of content available, and all the tools are free. So, you must try, test, and experience.”

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