Mobile App Downloads Jump in China as Coronavirus Outbreak Keeps People Home

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Data from app analytic platform App Annie revealed that the number of mobile app downloads has surged during the first two weeks of February in the Chinese mainland market as Chinese residents were advised to stay home to avoid the deadly coronavirus that has infected more than 75,000 people in the country.

The average weekly downloads of apps for the first half of February exceeded 200 million, nearly 50% higher than the weekly average of the same period in 2019 and 10% higher than that of January 2020, according to App Annie.

The statistics also showed that the most downloaded category was games, which normally experience sharp decline after Lunar New Year holiday. Social games such as Pictionary, Werewolf, and role playing games spiked as they combine social elements with entertainment value.

In addition to games, the other most popular categories in terms of downloads were education, tools, entertainment, photography and video. In terms of growth, weekly downloads for education and business apps have grown significantly at about twice the weekly average of 2019. This comes as no surprise as millions of people have been working or studying online at home to reduce travel and human contact.

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Video apps occupied more than half the spots in top 10 most used apps on Android phones during the holiday. Douyin and Toutiao were two big time killers, ranking second and third after WeChat in terms of total screen time.

Capital markets reacted quickly to the strong performance of gaming and education apps. Tencent, China’s largest mobile games provider, has seen their share price hit a 20-month high. Online educational service providers including New Oriental, TAL Education, and Genshuixue have all also improved their share price in February.