Apple’s founder Steve Jobs said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
App Store, which has just celebrated its 10th anniversary, is certainly one important dot in Apple’s path to success.
When iPhone was first launched, I couldn’t wait for it to come to Hong Kong and so I went straight to queue up at an Apple shop in the United States.
After seeing the way App Store operates, I immediately realized the business potential of developing Chinese apps, and so I did. The Apple Daily app, still one of the most popular in Hong Kong, is one of my projects.
The iPhone and App Store have fundamentally transformed the telecommunications industry.
In the Nokia era, mobile network was dominated by telecom companies. It’s quite difficult to surf online using handsets, and one has to pay for all sorts of stuff, even wallpaper and ringtones.
App Store has dismantled the long-time dominance of telecom operators, leading to an era of price cuts and unlimited data usage.
App Store also changes the way software is bought and sold.
By enabling software developers to offer an app at a very low or even no cost to users, software becomes a lot more affordable. Most apps cost less than HK$100.
Low cost does not mean it is a small business.
App Store reportedly generated US$26.5 billion in revenue, part of that went to the app and game developers, while about US$11 billion was pocketed by Apple.
App Store has also given rise to several super apps such as WhatsApp.
Interestingly, App Store has developed at a much slower pace in China than in other countries. It might have to do with the strong rivalry from WeChat, a social media platform that offers most applications needed in everyday life.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug 17
Translation by Julie Zhu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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