As China's economy grows, its thirst for expensive consumer products like the iPhone is starting to rival that of the U.S.
The release of the iPhone 6 has lead to record-breaking sales figures in China. As a result, China has now surpassed the U.S. in terms of the number of iOS app downloads, according to a report by app store analytics company App Annie.
The opening quarter of 2015 is the first time since App Annie started measuring downloads by country in 2010 that the U.S. has not been the top consumer of iOS apps. Despite Android cornering the majority of the market, the report also shows that the iOS App store generates 70 percent higher revenue than Google's Play store.
Apple's success in China is being attributed to the larger screens of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. In the fourth quarter of 2104, phones with screen sizes between 5 inches and 7 inches were roughly 60 percent of total smartphone shipments in China, versus 40 percent worldwide. However, despite Chinese iOS users downloading more apps, the U.S. still generates the most revenue, followed by Japan and then China in third place. Finishing out the top five are the U.K. and Australia in fourth and fifth spots, respectively.
By contrast, the Google Play platform in the U.S. is responsible for the most downloads but only generates the second most revenue after Japan. China doesn't feature in the top five countries by downloads or revenue on the Google platform.
Android is the most popular mobile operating system on the planet and as a result the Google Play store generates the most downloads, 70 percent more than the Apple app store, up from 60 percent in the third quarter of 2014. However, despite this growth iOS apps still generate roughly 70 percent more revenue, and this lead has increased from about 60 percent even as people are downloading more Android apps. It's no surprise, then, that developers tend to produce iOS apps before their Android counterparts.
The report (registration required) shows that games are the most downloaded types of apps both on iOS and Android and also generate the most revenue on both platforms.