Camera 360 VP Growth, Hu Yu Ning
According to “China Mobile Application Global Report 2017”, the trend of Chinese applications to go
overseas is a destined course. Most applications going overseas are tools or camera apps. In this
tide of going global, what should developers be aware of?
At the AdTiming monetization product release, AdTiming VP Products Yobo Zhang, together with Camera360 Growth VP Hu Yu Ning and four other industry experts discussed about the global mobile industry. One of the key topic was Chinese applications going global.
The following are selected dialogue from the discussion:
“Camera 360’s ability to adapt to oversea markets allowed it to grow across 200 countries and regions, with a combined user base of 800 million. Hu Yu Ning, growth VP of Camera360 remarked, “utility applications tends to easier to be accepted across the world, as long as we can solve a simple users’ need, the growth will be secured. Although Camera360 has been adapting consistently, we are keenly aware that the needs of the users do not change, and this critical understanding of users’ needs should be the priority for utility application developers.”
Camera360 first went global in 2012 and the notion of localizing has yet to be a mature understanding in the industry. Camera360 was one of the first Chinese mobile application developers that adapted to local cultures. This adaptation included more than just language translation, but rather, the adaptation came from the perspective of the local user’s preference. Through local partners and local user feedback, Camera360 adapted to each locality. With this experience, overseas projects since 2014 has become more predictable. Later on, Camera360 also emphasized on building local fan groups and partnerships with global brands as propellers for their global projects.
One of these global projects was Japan. Camera360 reached Japan’s overall application ranking of 1st on 29th October 2017. Camera360 acquired 1 million new users in just 3 days. The success was attributed to the localized strategy. Apart from culturally localized promotional materials, Camera360 also engaged a Japanese consultancy firm to pinpoint the target user group’s specific preference. It was found that users between 14 and 29 have a common habit for taking photos and sharing them. They also have a strong preference for cute beautifying filters, Camera360 therefore created a candy filter to meet this specific preference. After monitoring initial user data, it was found that over 80% of users are on iOS, Camera360 then decided to focus all efforts on optimizing their iOS version. Thereafter, releasing a festival themed filter that coincided with local festivals which really made Camera360 blossom in Japan.
Furthermore, Camera360’s partnership with KOL included local celebrities sharing the app on reality television shows and their personal channels. This method proved to be very effective in Japan and Korean where idol culture is very strong. Hu Yu Ning shared that the first half of going global required Camera360 to be technically competent to achieve user growth. But in the later half, with bigger scale, the needs of being commercial sound and logical necessarily required partnership with specialized firms like AdTiming which has vast technical ability, significant resources and global strategic understanding to propel further growth.