Mobile apps have shaped daily life in Hong Kong. Under the principle of “one country, two systems”, Hong Kong is to retain a semi-autonomous status with its economic and political freedoms ensured until 2047. Unlike mainland China, WhatsApp, Facebook, Google, and others are not banned in the former British colony. While global heavyweights often top the city’s app chart, some Chinese alternatives are also well-received. With a tech-savvy population and a strong consumer spending power, the financial hub has proved to be an important market for app developers and publishers.

The ubiquity of smartphone

Hong Kong is home to nearly seven million smartphone users , registering one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world. For many Hong Kong citizens, smartphones have become an indispensable part of their daily life. Most consumers possess one smartphone while the more affluent group retains multiple devices to serve tech enthusiasm or business purposes. Given the abundance of affordable models, smartphone ownership among children and teens reached the 85 percent benchmark in 2020. In terms of daily usage, a 2021 survey showed that respondents spent an average of 3.5 hours browsing the internet on their phones.

Mobile apps to enhance efficiency

As one of the most competitive economies in the world, Hong Kong is widely touted for its efficiency and practicability. Such characteristics are reflected by its app users as well. Instead of sticking to familiar products, consumers are relatively open to new apps and constantly looking for time-saving solutions. When the app appears to be useful , many users do not hesitate to pay for it . This encourages app development and favors small entrants. From ordering groceries to consulting a doctor, there are various app choices to make daily life more convenient.

Which are the most popular apps in Hong Kong?

In fact, Hong Kong is one of the largest mobile app markets in the world. Trailing the more populous Brazil and Thailand, the financial center ranked 16th in terms of consumer spending in 2021. Social media and messaging apps are the most popular categories in terms of installation and daily usage . When it comes to app downloads, shopping, finance, and video streaming are other major segments. In terms of app usage frequency, gaming, news, and video streaming are popular. Aligning with the global trend, the COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to e-health and WFH apps in Hong Kong, with LeaveHomeSafe and Zoom Cloud Meetings being the most downloaded apps.

The outlook: business driving app innovation

Given its sizeable app userbase which embraces tech advancements, Hong Kong is commonly considered an ideal pilot point for a new app. With hybrid working becoming the new norm, more business services apps are expected to thrive in the digitally competitive city. On the other hand, app segments including social media, entertainment, and e-commerce will remain crowded with user growth reaching a saturation point.


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