Top 5 Localization Tips for Success in China

Posted by: APPTUTTi
Category: Blog

China has a unique mobile ecosystem. It runs on its own set of rules. To be successful in the Chinese mobile market, International developers will need to play by those rules. APPTUTTi has helped countless international developers navigate the Chinese market for over 5 years. 

Today we’ve put together a list of the top 5 localization tips to help you break into the world's largest mobile market. We’ll begin with an explanation of the cultural barrier, followed by the way to overcome it.


Spoken: Mandarin 

Written: Simplified Chinese

While it’s true that many Chinese people learn English from Elementary school through High School, gaming in China happens in players’ native language. Games without menus and in-game text in Simplified Chinese will struggle to find an audience. The best way to avoid this is to translate all of your game’s text into Simplified Chinese. This is often easier said than done. 

To break down this barrier, we provide professional translation services for all projects. Our translation team of native Mandarin speakers will translate the first 1,000 words of your game, for FREE! If your game still needs additional translation assistance, you can explore our translation packages.


Tangible: Places

Intangible: Folklore

Language is not just about words and sounds it’s an important part of intangible culture. Two equally pervasive but often overlooked aspects of culture are places or locations, and folklore. Adapting your game to one of these aspects of Chinese culture will enhance user experience as you will truly speak the same ‘language’ as that of your target audience. This will increase retention rates and word of mouth for your game.

Could your game take place in a Chinese city like Beijing or Shanghai? Maybe you could find a way to tie your game to a popular story from Chinese folklore. These are just a few ways that you can break down the cultural barriers. 

When you’re thinking about cultural communication, these 2 P’s come into play:


Breadth: Multi-faceted

Focus: Specific

The landscape of modern Chinese culture is directly linked to politics. Consumer content is tightly controlled by local authorities—films, books, media and the internet, for example. Games are no exception. A freeze on new game approvals lasted nine-months in 2019. 

Falling foul of government controls and treading on sensitive topics will adversely affect your current and future abilities to publish in China. If your game has a specific political message or theme, publishing in China is not advisable. Other games that could be interpreted as poking fun at historical figures in China, especially political ones would also not be likely to garner publishing approval


Theme: Cultural

Genre: RPG is king

While politics is all about restrictive measures, conforming to popularity is all about the positive steps you can take to fit the Chinese audience’s taste. In terms of themes medieval fairy tales and folktales pepper popular mobile titles in China. As noted before when talking about culture, much of what is popular today, in terms of theme, has some connection to historical Chinese culture.

Popular genres in China include RPG’s, Mid-Core Games, and Casual Games. RPG’s still account for a majority of the popular games in China, but there has been a recent rise in downloads of Casual and Hyper Casual Games. Players in China also expect a certain in-game events and mechanics like in-game relationships. 


Login: Social Media 

Payment: Wechat Pay or AliPay 

Offering a range of compatible login, payment and advertising options for Chinese users will again improve user experience. Making every aspect to the gaming experience smooth and high quality will increase player satisfaction and will increase player stickiness.

In addition to our translation service, we offer all partners access to our SuperSDK. This includes various AppID(s), Key(s) and/or PayCode(s) specific to our partnering stores to help you localize your game. Our accompanying services include source code study, SDK integration and implementation, APK testing and final publishing. Integration support is available alongside technical issue troubleshooting.

Let’s localize!

PS: Our user behavioural data feature will help you contextualize your localization efforts!

Author: APPTUTTi