Hi, I live in China Mainland, and I can confirm that Opal is the best screen time app in the whole world (including China mainland, which is often considered deserted when it comes to app distribution). The best app we can use here called OffScreen, and it still monitors your app usage by a legacy way of constantly probing your current location. It cannot know which app you’re using, cannot drive detailed report from it, and even doesn’t support strict-mode distraction-free time that can’t be paused or stopped. In many ways (or possibly every ways), it is inferior than Opal (also, your epigram shown during sessions are lot more wiser and funnier . So, do you have any plan on adding Chinese translation and/or get into China market? I think many of our domestic app developers already builds up a certain complacency which makes them too inapt to make changes and major upgrades. Many apps here are either too old or virtually unmaintained.
Anyway, I’m very glad to help your Chinese translation! And I’m also glad to introduce more details about app distribution situations in China if you’re interested (though I’m not a professional iOS developer thus my words are non-professional).
Ray! would love to chat - translation into Chinese is on our roadmap, but do you think there is already potential for distribution in English to English speakers? any obvious things we can do to help?
about translation, it’s certainly not a necessity to get into China, for both foreigners (a.k.a English-speaking natives) and Chinese people. There’re apps (LiquidText for example) who don’t get translated for years but still used and loved by Chinese users. It mostly depends on how competitive (and exclusive) the app is. For LiquidText, there aren’t many, if any, alternatives out there, so people are more tolerant.
The tricky thing is that, starting from Oct of 2023, all new apps are required to be registered (“备案”, as in Chinese term, 《工业和信息化部关于开展移动互联网应用程序备案工作的通知》解读) in order to upload to App Store. The App Store upload form has already reflected this by requiring a “SAPPRFT approval number” while uploading. This “approval number” in turns complicates things by requiring data collected from Chinese citizens to be stored locally in cloud providers based in China (e.g., Aliyun, AWS China), so getting into China means some red tapes (you may even need a Chinese cooperation to legally transfer your income to foreign entities) and non-negligible infrastructure transition cost. If only targeting English native-speakers in China, it may not be able to balance all these costs out.
For the record, it’s still pretty much unknown how this new law can impede foreign app developers. Everybody is confusing (Submitting apps to Chinese App Sto… | Apple Developer Forums) and I can’t find any reliable source on this matter. As I’ve said I’m not an iOS developer and certainly not an expert in app distribution, so you may need to consult somebody who knows stuff.
Anyway, personally speaking, though I very hope that I can directly download and buy Opal Pro in my local App Store, but I’m not very optimistic in this. I think many foreign independent app developers are already deterred by all these red tapes, and this is exactly why many local apps can thrive under the umbrella w/o coming up with new features and enhancements. If you have developed many apps that can be distributed in China, maybe the accumulated earnings can easily offset all these. As for independent foreign developers owning only one or two apps which aren’t in those popular categories (e.g., under note-taking and efficiency categories there’re many wildly-recognized killer apps in China, such as LiquidText), the policy isn’t very nice. Sadly.
P.S. If you need any help in Chinese translation, I’m pleased to help that as well!
Thank you for your feedback! We’re now available on the China Mainland app store, we had some help from the App Store team.
Can anyone confirm we are available in mainland china? @here