Game analytics provider Newzoo and one of Asia’s leading mobile advertising platforms Mintegral published a report on mobile markets of China, Japan and Korea.

The report contains insights and tips for western developers wishing to pursue opportunities within the APAC region.



  • Based on Newzoo’s projections, global app revenues will reach $129.2 billion by 2021. APAC countries will account for 57.9% of the global spending on apps ($87.1Bn). Game will continue to be the most profitable category.
  • Out of 3 billion smartphone users globally, 53.4% are from the APAC region.
  • China is and will continue to be No. 1 app market. In 2018, consumers from China spent $26.4 billion on apps, with 73.7% coming from mobile games.
  • Japanese mobile players spent $371.0 per person on average in 2018, which makes Japan the #1 market by annual spend per smartphone game payer.
  • South Korea is No. 1 market by smartphone penetration in Asia, with Samsung accounting for more than 65.5% of all devices.


  • China is the world No 1. app market (30.8% of global app revenues in 2018).
  • Mobile players prefer immersive experiences, with RPGs generating most revenue.
  • Most Chinese players are full-time employees with children.
  • The device market is dominated by local brands, like OPPO, Vivo, Huawei, etc.
  • Developers need to take into account China’s strict regulations on mobile games.


  • Of the three markets considered, Japan is expected to show the slowest growth in game revenues. That said, on average, Japanese mobile gamers pay the most in the world.
  • Card and puzzle games are most popular in Japan. However, there is a tendency among Japanese developers to combine different game genre elements. Puzzle & Dragons, for example, combines card game core gameplay with RPG design. Match-3, specifically, account for 3 out of 5 top-grossing iOS games.
  • Japanese players are less likely to spend money on competitive games. Mobile esports popularity is quite low.
  • Japanese gamers are relatively young, often living with parents.
  • Apple is the undisputed leader in the device market.
  • With local culture being dramatically different from the West, localization is of critical importance for foreign developers.
  • Social media, such as LINE messenger, and celebrities play a tremendous role in promoting games.
  • Governmental regulations are more relaxed compared to China.

South Korea

  • Strategy games are among the fastest-growing genres.
  • Compared to China and Japan, mobile gamers are older.
  • In-game power-ups are the most popular items players spend money on.
  • Smartphone penetration is South Korea is 68%.
  • Samsung devices lead the market.
  • MMORPG is the most popular genre among Korean mobile gamers.
  • Local publishers, such as Netmarble, NCSOFT, and NEXON, dominate the market. Nevertheless, compared to China and Japan, South Korea is the most open market for western developers. Foreign game makers are recommended to take advantage of the country’s social media channels, like Kakao Talk.