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My ‘App-y Life: Living Life Off Mobile Apps in China

by Li Hui

July 23, 2015

The growth in the mobile app ecosystem is making life easier for people in China. Here’s how.

Online to Offline commerce, or O2O, is one of the buzziest words in China right now (See ‘O2O Primer’). Simply put, O2O bridges the online and offline worlds, and with a simple click on your smartphone you are able to get something without having trudge all the way to a physical location.

According to iResearch, the O2O “local service” segment only accounted for 4.4% of the entire internet business in 2014. While the size of the O2O local service market is not quite there yet, the market is expected to grow exponentially. A recently released report by Analysys International indicates that the market scale of “life service O2O” business reached RMB 248 billion in 2014, up by a whopping 78.4% from the year before. The report also estimated that life service O2O business will expand to over RMB 400 billion by the end of 2015. Hence, if 2014 was a year during which the cash-rich market players were busy training their muscles, then 2015 is when the real battle begins.

Competition in the O2O sector is extremely intense, but at the end of the day the user wins. With more and more mobile apps springing up every day, the user’s life is getting easier. Mobile apps in China have created a bubble in which people can get whatever they need without even stepping out of the comforts of their home.

So how convenient can your life be if you simply live off your mobile apps? Very very ’appy.

Let’s take a basic human need: food. Food delivery is by no means a new concept but O2O takes it one step further giving you the ability to ‘order’ a private chef. Apps like Hao Chu Shi (which means “good chef”) will send you, not only the food, but also a private chef starting at RMB 79. Other apps such as eJiajie, Ayilaile, Helijia, etc., will get your house cleaned, find you a trustworthy babysitter, or get you relaxing massage or a manicure in the comfort of your home. For those who are too busy to walk out of the door, there also are apps that get your errands done.

To find out how mobile apps are changing our daily lives, please look at the infographic below.


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