Mobile app penetration in Southeast Asia is growing fast and companies are rushing to gain a foot hold in the lucrative app market. One company based out of Portugal, has silently catapulted itself to be a contender in the android marketplace. Aptoide is an app marketplace for app makers allowing its members to develop their own app stores and sell a variety of apps to the end users.
Users can search for other app stores within the Aptoide app giving customers the freedom to perform unrestricted searches. This makes it very appealing to customers, unlike restricted marketplaces. One can easily see the value and potential growth prospects for this customer-centric marketplace.
According to Paulo Trezentos, CEO of Aptoide, the main competitors of the company are the heavyweights like Google and Amazon. However, because the business model is different and unique, Trezentos does not see these other companies as competitors. Their international business growth model has been producing outstanding results, with growth averaging well over 100% year over year. Presently, Aptoide sees huge growth potential in Southeast Asia. Part of this growth is being developed by strategic partnerships that the company is developing with other tech companies.
I met with Tiago Costa Alves, VP of Aptiode Asia Pacific, at Echelon Thailand and he gave me some insights on entering new markets in SEA “as a startup you have to come out with new ideas to grow that don’t imply spending a lot of money. In our case, we have started to send push notifications to our users in South East Asia asking for volunteers to become our Aptoide Ambassador for each country. We already have Ambassadors for Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, and we’re currently recruiting for Malaysia and Philippines. The role of the Aptoide Ambassador will be to check that the local language is ok, that we have all relevant Apps within the country and to report any bugs or issues that might appear.”
In Indonesia, the company is working on developing a long-term relationship with Aplikanologi, a leading company in tech media sites in the region. Other companies that the company has developed long-term relationship with are Aikun and Geniatech, both of which are global android companies. Adding into this strategy, the company has recently opened an office in Singapore and just announced a new office in Shenzhen, China to develop strong relationships with OEM’s in the region. Trezentos sees these partnerships as key drivers of the company’s success as it will help them to identify new revenue streams and understand user behavior.
Currently, Aptoide is still classified as a small start-up. However, it is quickly closing in on 2 billion downloads with 51 million users, 479,000 apps and 164,000+ stores. The company hopes to transition into a major power player in the android market, which now stands as the third largest app ecosystem in the world. In some countries, Aptoide has surpassed Google Play in popularity among users.
The company is nearing the final stages of a Series A funding round. However, it has not officially announced anything yet. Since Samsung dominates the mobile handset market in Southeast Asia, this presents a unique opportunity for Aptoide to tiptoe in and claim a stake in the fast growing android app marketplace.