Mobile Apps Seeing ‘Astronomical’ Growth In China

These are the 10 countries where mobile apps have seen the fastest consumer adoption this year, new Flurry analytics show

“China’s growth is astronomical,” writes Flurry’s Peter Farago. “While the top 100 countries are averaging session growth of over 200 percent, China is delivering more than four times this growth rate, spurred by a massive population voraciously adopting applications.

“We knew there were a lot of people in China, and that they’ve skipped over fixed wire to wireless technology adoption (as do most emerging economies), but we didn’t expect adoption of more premium iOS and Android handsets, and therefore apps, this quickly.”

What’s the reason for for this “hyper-growth”? Flurry credits falling prices for older iPhones and increasingly capable low- and mid-range Android handsets now available in emerging markets.

That trend of smartphone conversion within the overall mobile base is borne out by official Ministry Of Industry figures. It says the number of Chinese registered with a mobile app store grew from 100 million to 150 million this Q3 alone, even though mobile ownership grew only 2.5 percent to 1.25 billion.

In China, several telcos and handset makers have adopted forked versions of Android that bear little reference to Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and which operate entirely different app stores. In fact, the most popular app stores are not always the ones that ship together with handsets; there is a thriving market of competing app stores.

Overseas app adoption means the U.S. is no longer responsible for the majority of global app sessions, as it was in January, though it remains the world’s largest single app market, according to Flurry. China in July overtook the UK to become the country which plays host to the second largest number of app sessions per month.

In the U.S., the share of adult cell phone owners who have downloaded an app has risen to 38 percent in August 2011, up from 22 percent in September 2009, according to new Pew Research Center research.

China had 100 million 3G users in Q3 and 40 million users of the TD-SCDMA standard, an Asian rival to 3G, according to its Ministry Of Industry. China is busy pitching its TD-LTE 4G standard to global operators; Japan’s Softbank has committed to adopt it.

» Methodology: Flurry’s analytics are recorded by more than 12,000 apps, which the company reckons make up a third of all daily downloads. Total mobile app sessions recorded by Flurry grew from 10 billion in January to 20 billion in October.