What You Must Know Before Promoting Games in China


The China market is large and the game industry is lucrative. Numbers of overseas developers enter into China market to boost their game users. Before publishing a game in China, every developer or publisher has to check 3 things prior to commercialization:

  1. Prepare certificates
  2. Conduct competitor analysis
  3. Draft a detailed marketing plan

About Certificates

New game approval regulations become extremely strict since 2018 as a result of the Shortsightedness Prevention Plan and the longstanding tension between government regulators and the game industry, for which approximately 9 months of the game approval procedure being suspended last year. Below please find a summary of the new requirements based on the written rules issued by NAPP (the National Administration of Press and Publication) on April 19, 2019.

  • Approval period will be 80 business days after receipt of the application documents.
  • Approval number will be limited, following total volume, structure and layout planning.
  • All mini-games require to be approved before commercial launch.

For game developers, they will have to prepare all necessary documents below for promoting in different media platforms, i.e. Weibo, Tencent, iQiyi, etc.

  • Business License
  • ICP Certificate
  • Network Culture Operation License
  • Game Publishing Number
  • Software Copywrite

Additional and unwritten requirements can be required. You can find out a local partner to help you out since they usually know well about localization, publishing, distribution and marketing strategies.

Competitor Analysis

Being aware of self’s or competitors’ strengths and weaknesses is very critical to identify opportunities and threats. If developers or publishers are going to enter China market, it’s inevitable for them to conduct competitor analysis with tools such as AppGrowing and MiHui as for doing research, analysis, and monitoring all the mobile marketplace of China. Here’re steps you can follow when doing analysis.

  1. Searching out who are competitors in China market according to a product’s positioning.
  2. Conducting difference analysis among competitors
  3. Analyzing competitor’s mobile advertising intelligence analysis, including publishing platform, frequency, creatives, budget, performance, etc.
  4. Customizing marketing strategies and promotion activities

“Know yourself as well as the enemy does” is an important tactic to improve competitiveness, but the marketing strategies and practical experience in optimization are pretty crucial to surpass your business goals as well.

Marketing Plan

Below a case is given as a reference for drafting a marketing plan.

ZiMAD is a Russian developer and publisher of popular games and apps for mobile platforms, PC, and social networks. Magic Jigsaw Puzzles is one of its most popular casual games worldwide. To help ZiMAD promote the game in China market and reach their expectations, Youmi carried out the campaign as the following steps:

  1. Analysis of targeting group. Find out potential user groups based on basic personal information, interest and behavior, etc.
  2. Media resources selection. Choose media resources with corresponding user base for targeting user groups.
  3. Preparation of Creatives. The media buyer team generates creatives according to different ad placements.
  4. Test and optimization. Media buyer team tests media resources, creatives and targeting groups, accumulate the data and find out the best combination to optimize the cost.

China is an attractive but complicated market. China’s market has its own rules and regulations. As well as certificates and competitor analysis, entering China market requires excellent promotion strategies and operation management experience to acquire users. In this regard, the next article will shed light on how to make successful China UA with ZiMAD case studies.