There are a multitude of reasons why iOS developers should care about Japan App Store entry. Naturally, the most obvious reason to consider the Japan App Store, is revenue!
Well, that depends various factors. Firstly, is your app localized for the iOS Japan Market? Secondly, will the typical Japanese person even like your app? Thirdly, will your app monetization strategy work in the Japan iOS Market?
Japan has a population of approximately 125 million people with roughly 50% of Japanese people using iPhones since 2012. With Japanese iPhone users spending a mind-blowing $200 per person annually or more, this is a market that cannot be ignored by developers. In contrast, the US population is about 325 million with about 90 million iPhone users. US users spend approximately $90 per person annually. Finally, for China, there are approximately 230 million iPhone users. Yet, I can tell you from first hand experience that Chinese users do not spend that much in the App Store. Most noteworthy, is one study stating that only the “invisible poor" in China are iPhone users.
In any case, let us compare the iOS App Store revenue of the United States and Japan. According to the statistics above, US iPhone users spend about $8 billion per year in the App Store. In contrast, Japanese iPhone users spend roughly $12.5 billion. Thus, Japanese users spend roughly 150% more than US users.
Firstly, for non-Japanese speakers, there is the language barrier. The obvious choice for most developers is to hire a localization company. Yet, how many of these localization companies are consistently developing successful apps. Furthermore, can they show you past success in the Japan App Store?
Secondly, most will think they can get their Japanese friend to localize the app for them (that has no experience in iOS development). Rather, maybe Google Translate can get the job done?
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