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When developing mobile apps, if you don’t plan and act globally from the very beginning, you may be behind even before you start. There are fundamental differences between countries, and approaching them with a one-size-fit-all approach is not prudent, as strategies that have been successful in one market may not work in others.

At GMIC’s annual mobile conference in Beijing in May, several mobile companies launched China strategies each a bit different from their US strategies, including Flipboard, Evernote, Rovio, and Halfbrick (Fruit Ninja). These companies recognize that it is imperative to consider the attributes of each local market when building an effective global strategy. Similarly Chinese based companies like Tencent, Baidu, Renren are expanding to the West.

But creating real influence, understanding trends, and forecasting and developing strategies in today’s extensive global mobile Internet market can be a Herculean task.

The Proof is in the Numbers!

According to a recent study, 1.2 billion people worldwide were using mobile apps at the end of 2012. An unfathomable 4.4 billion mobile app users are forecasted by the end of 2017, a YOY growth rate of 30%. That would be about half the world’s total population. Currently, there are 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, which means approximately 17 percent of mobile subscribers use apps. Of these, over 50% of the worldwide mobile subscription base is in the Asia-Pacific region and is projected to further increase. Projections indicate a concurrent decline in the North American and Western European markets [Portio Research, Mobile Factbook, February 2013].

What does this mean? Mobile app developers who have figured out a distribution and monetization strategy in China, India, and the rest of Asia stand to make billions, to say the least. By the end of 2012, China had about 420 million mobile Internet users.  [China Internet Watch, 2013]. Similarly, India has 44 million smartphone users, which constitutes only 4% of the total mobile users in that country. Indian year-on-year growth projections are expected to be even higher than China’s. Given India’s demographics, with over 50% of the population under 25 years of age, growth in the mobile-smartphone space is promising to be explosive. The total number of smartphone users is projected to be over 3 billion by the end of 2016. 

With such encouraging growth rates, driven by a significant shift in user activity from PC to mobile, rapid expansion of China’s mobile Internet user base, enhanced capabilities of smartphones and increased adoption of compelling mobile applications, it is no surprise that as recently as a couple of  weeks ago Tencent, China’s largest and most used Internet service portal, surpassed a market valuation of over $100 billion. Tencent developed some of China’s most popular mobile applications, including Wireless QQ and Weixin. To put it in context, Tencent’s market cap is more than McDonalds’ and is trailing only a handful of technology companies in the US.

GMIC: A Platform for Global Collaboration

GMIC SV 2013, Silicon Valley’s largest independent mobile conference, plans to host its second conference in Silicon Valley this October (22-23). After an impressive debut with over 5,400 attendees last year, it is expected to be bigger and better this year at Moscone Center, San Francisco. Currently hosted in two locations, Beijing and Silicon Valley, GMIC offers a platform for global networking, as it provides an incredible opportunity for brainstorming among entrepreneurs, investors, executives, and app developers, thus making it a major global influencer in the industry.

Check out the impressive list of speakers from all over the world in various exciting tracks – Thought Leader, appSpace, Games, Startup, m-marketing, m-Health, m-Education  and m-Next; and global competitions – appAttack, Global Game Stars, and G-Startup.

With the theme “Everywhere. Everything. Everyone.”, GMIC SV promises to be an invaluable platform for those looking for insights into the future trends of the mobile Internet industry.

VentureBeat readers can enjoy 20% off their ticket price with code BEAT. Register for GMIC today.

About the author: Murthy Nyayapati is an expert on the mobile Internet industry and currently head of sales for GMIC SV, 2013. He has over 20 years of experience with enterprise software, working as a management consultant and in sales.

Twitter: @mNyayapati

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