In China, there is an estimated 246 million smartphone devices in use. With this widespread use of smartphones, particularly the ones operating on iOS, there is a massive, untapped market for developers to promote their apps. The problem is the language and cultural barrier that prevents most app developers from ever resonating with the Chinese people. This is truly a shame because of the educational opportunities afforded to those children who are able to access learning and story apps in their native language. The tide may be turning, however, because SoftBank of Korea has recognized the need and is providing funding to SmarTots, who localizes apps and subsequently promotes them on the Chinese iTunes Store.
SmarTots disclosed recently that they received an unmentioned amount of funding from SoftBank that will enable them to convert U.S. developer’s educational apps, that are geared toward children, into a Chinese counterpart. So far, SmarTots has been able to build a library of over 30 converted apps that collectively hit 1 million downloads in January of this year. They are currently working closely with 13 developers from all over the world to conquer the meticulous task of localizing app content such as images, text and audio in to suitable material for Chinese children.
The founder of SmarTots and former Nokia developer, Jesper Lodahl, came up with the idea of app localization when he realized just how much children loved playing with the iPad. His vision was to help connect families and help them interact together instead of being otherwise absorbed in their own devices.
This vision, coupled with the learning opportunities that will be afforded the Chinese children who might not otherwise have access to the educational content provided by SmarTots, makes the endeavor not only a way for developers to get in on an untapped market, but also a way to spread feelings of humanity and goodwill to children across the globe.