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The Strange Nature of the Nigerian App Market 110

Posted by samzenpus
from the this-app-may-come-as-a-surprise-to-you dept.
zacharye writes "With 100 million mobile subscribers, Nigeria stands among leading mobile markets in the world. Its mobile content sector is quite fascinating — this is a market where $100 apps can debut at the No.3 position on Apple's list of top iOS apps. Bible and Quran apps are a major feature of the Nigerian mobile content market. The evergreen 'Message Bible' was launched globally in December 2009 at almost the same time as 'Angry Birds.' While the raging avians achieved greater global success, 'Message Bible' was a smash in Nigeria, recently returning again to No.15 among the top grossing iPhone apps. In the United States, the app didn't even crack the top 600 at its peak."
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The Strange Nature of the Nigerian App Market

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  • 419 Scam? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ApplePy (2703131) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:12AM (#41007275)
    None conned so easily as the con man, they say.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And there is no greater con than God, which explains these Bible and Qur'an apps.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        Before C20, I'd agree.

        Today, there is no greater con than capitalism.

        Which is why anyone feels the need for an iPhone and its apps at all.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Well Sir, when was is a Nigerian Prince one does have an reputation to maintain and all that.

          Toddle Pip.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by icebraining (1313345)

          Nope. Religion stills takes the cake.

          When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims, religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time!

          But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He's all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can't handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!

          http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/Carlin_on_religion.htm [godlessgeeks.com]

          • Re:419 Scam? (Score:4, Informative)

            by alexgieg (948359) <alexgieg@gmail.com> on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:34AM (#41009723) Homepage

            And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time!

            Actually, the Christian Hell is the Greek Hades, in which the Greek religion said everyone went no matter what. You had some slight better places within Hades for good people, such as the Elysium Fields, but it was commonly accepted that going to anywhere in Hades wasn't good, and that staying alive was way better, thank you very much. (Olympus, by the way, was the realm of the gods and demigods, not of dead humans.) So, early Christian apologetics at the time went more or less like this:

            Christian: "Hey, bro! Do you have a minute?"
            Greek: "Yeah, sure. What is it?"
            Christian: "I'd like to talk to you about a hot new Eastern religion I follow. But before, please tell me: where do you go after you're die?"
            Greek: "Well, to Hades. Everyone knows that."
            Christian: "And what if I told you you can actually go to Olympus instead?"
            Greek: "What? How come!? That's unpossible!!!11!1!!!"
            Christian: "Ah, but it's very possible! Let me tell you about this god of mine..."

            PS.: By the way, the Christians don't think certain specific things lead to Hell/Hades. Keeping in line with the Greek religion, it's all of them. Do anything or nothing at all, and you go to Hades anyway. It's merely the standard human afterlife, no strings attached. Heaven/Olympus is an optional alternative.

    • by Ollabelle (980205)
      Oh, I don't know, maybe this is how they launder the money from those 419 scams....
  • Dear sir,

    I write to you because you are a decent person, and I need your help. My father was the minister of agriculture before the civil war broke out. In the civil war, jihadists where after the money my father had secured for building a dam. This money...
  • No surprise there (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wizard052 (1003511) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:13AM (#41007281)
    As Africa's most populous country, it's got millions of mobile subscribers. This is one prime market that's often overlooked as the West focuses on the BRIC markets...
    • Re:No surprise there (Score:5, Informative)

      by William Robinson (875390) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:38AM (#41007405)
      Just checked and surprised to see India has [indiatimes.com] 929 million mobile subscribers. That is huge market.
      • by Mr. White (22990)

        Since we are talking about mobile apps, we need to compare smartphone prevalence, not number of mobile subscribers.

        In poor countries, mobile phones are very popular for a number of reasons. But most of those phones are not smartphones and won't be unless someone designs a $100 smartphone. (without contract price.)

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          Since we are talking about mobile apps, we need to compare smartphone prevalence, not number of mobile subscribers.

          In poor countries, mobile phones are very popular for a number of reasons. But most of those phones are not smartphones and won't be unless someone designs a $100 smartphone. (without contract price.)

          ..practically every phone over 50 bucks can run programs.

          there's plenty of smartphone definition filling devices in the 100 bucks range, without contract. nokia has a bunch of models, that's where the bulk of their unit numbers comes. it's pathetically under targeted segment from sw developers today, not least because nokia CEO even likes to pretend they don't exist!

          • by mattack2 (1165421)

            I don't follow phones too much, but I think the phones you're talking about are more typically called "feature phones". They're not quite as capable as "smartphones", and the apps they run are much simpler. (I'm not even sure if all of them have separate app stores.)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Brazil 192,787,000 GDP per capita $12,788
      Russia 141,927,297 GDP per capita $12,993
      India 1,210,193,422 GDP per capita $1,389
      China 1,336,970,000 GDP per capita $5,430

      Nigeria 162,470,737 GDP per capita $1,452

      hell, Indonesia 237,424,363 GDP per capita $3,508

      Nigeria is a /market/ sure, but "prime" indicates First to me. It's more middle-pack.

    • Re:No surprise there (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sqr(twg) (2126054) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @05:18AM (#41007931)

      And with a GDP per capita of approximately USD 2 600 (a twentieth of the US) very few of those can afford to pay for apps. The fact that the “CFA Exam Audio Series: Level II 2013 priced at $100 placed #3 gives a hint as to how many Nigerians are buying apps.

  • Elitism (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mr100percent (57156) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:13AM (#41007285) Homepage Journal

    You're talking about a country with a per capita income of only $2,600. Clearly only the top 1% buy these phones and thus the expensive apps.

    • by ccguy (1116865)

      You're talking about a country with a per capita income of only $2,600. Clearly only the top 1% buy these phones and thus the expensive apps.

      You'd be surprised at the profiles of the 'letter from a prince generator' buyers...

    • Re:Elitism (Score:4, Interesting)

      by loosescrews (1916996) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @04:14AM (#41007631)

      $2,600 of reported income.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You're talking about a country with a per capita income of only $2,600. Clearly only the top 1% buy these phones and thus the expensive apps.

      A phone doesn't cost what you pay for it. You can expect that the price is adjusted to increase the customer base.
      In general Africa also have very few landlines (I cannot speak for Nigeria in particular.) and this leads to a situation where a cellphone is pretty darn important. A Nigerian is probably willing to spend a lot more of their income on a cellphone than you would.

      • Re:Elitism (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:37PM (#41013525)
        I can speak for Nigeria - it has very few landlines, and most of those don't work. Many Nigerians have relatives in Europe who send their old phone to them when the contract expires (American phones are, of course, even more useless outside America than inside).

        The income distribution in Nigeria is radically different from Europe or America, and a great many Nigerians are outside the monetary economy, and quite a few are reasonably well off, In any case, no one in Nigeria believes statistical data, especially if it originates with the private sector or the government, or anyone else.

  • by Penurious Penguin (2687307) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:14AM (#41007287) Homepage Journal
    How do I know this article isn't a Nigerian scam? I aint clickin' on that link, no sir I aint.
    • You have my word.

      - Nigerian Prince

      P.S. Please help me and my country.

  • by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:23AM (#41007335) Homepage Journal

    "9 out of the 10 highest-grossing iPhone apps in America are free."

    it's clear that americans go for nigerian scams easier than nigerians who like to pay up front.

  • by jones_supa (887896) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:37AM (#41007399)
    It's also interesting to see how Africa in general seems to be steadily rising towards a more developed continent. China too is making investments there, and Renault recently launched the continent's largest automotive factory.
  • by KreAture (105311) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:52AM (#41007481)
    1. Buy the dealers app or in-app purchase of insanely priced virtual wares
    2. Display as proof
    3. Recieve drugs

    This market needs better control!
  • Angry Birds - Jihad Suicide Bomber Edition! I smell a mega-smash hit in Nigeria!
  • Faith of Nigeria (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @05:04AM (#41007883)

    40% of population are Christian and 50% muslin. No surprises as to the fervor of their faith.

    • by pr0nbot (313417) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @06:22AM (#41008213)

      Those non-Christians aren't going to last long in hell... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslin [wikipedia.org]

      • by bigtrike (904535)

        If they mix with other fabrics, they'll definitely end up in hell.

        "Deuteronomy 22:11 Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together."

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        The remaining 10% are reportedly Muslix. They'll last a bit longer in hell and put off a sweet, savory roasted oats odor as they cook...

    • by echucker (570962)
      Hmm, some folks might cotton on to those numbers not matching the fabric of the religious structure there.
    • And the remaining 10% are lying?

  • Would that be 'The Message' bible? That piece of crap doesn't even deserve to be called a 'translation.' I'm an atheist, and even I find it offensive that someone had so little respect for the historical text as to produce The Message. Some people try to defend it by calling it a 'paraphrase' instead, but that is simply excusing the terrible inaccuracies and even entire verses outright rewritten.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Some people try to defend it by calling it a 'paraphrase' instead, but that is simply excusing the terrible inaccuracies and even entire verses outright rewritten.

      Where exactly do you think The Bible comes from? During the Council of Nicaea, whole sections of the "Bible" (at the time) were discarded or re-written to match the prejudices of the attendees.

      • Re:Message bible? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @07:19AM (#41008435)

        That is not correct, though that's a common misconception. The Council of Nicaea did not address the question of which books would be included in the Biblical canon. Rather, it concerned the nature of the relationship between God the Father and his son Jesus--it was a dispute between the followers of Athanasius who finally won out, who asserted that they were different persons, and the followers of Arius, who believed that God and the Son were separate entities. It was, of course, a political struggle, and that particular council was not the final word on the matter. There were messy struggles between the two factions (and several others that cropped up over the years) until the Emperor Theodosius I settled the question essentially by fiat near the end of the 4th century. (It was officially settled by council--but strangely enough, the results of the later councils always seemed to match the theological opinion of the reigning Augustus.)

        The books that were taken to be part of the canon were largely settled somewhat earlier by consensus between the "orthodox" Christians--the ones that finally won out. Groups of Christians that disagreed were disenfranchised and exiled before the Council of Nicaea, as a result of the legal battles that ensued after the Edict of Milan legalized Christianity. At that time, the courts had to settle which groups were the actual Christians, and thus officially tolerated, and which were the churches of the false Christians that did not fall under the Edict's orders to restore seized property.

        There were no Ecumenical Councils that took a position on the canon until the Council of Trent asserted the canonicity of the so-called "deuterocanonical" books--books in the Old Testament which the new Protestants rejected. The Protestants, of course, continued to reject those books, and so most Protestant Bibles fail to include books like Tobit and 1 and 2 Maccabees.

      • Educated atheist gets lectured by uneducated atheist about religion. News at 11.

  • What, like Farmville, Oil Tycoon, Poacher Paradise, Sim 419, and Love(...Not) Connection?

  • subject (Score:4, Funny)

    by Legion303 (97901) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @06:54AM (#41008333) Homepage

    "Bible and Quran apps are a major feature of the Nigerian mobile content market."

    Worst casual games ever.

  • Easy access to the Bible? You don't want people reading that thing. They'll start to see how wacky it is.
    • Judging by Mein Kampf, universal access to a book does not mean it is universally read beyond the first few pages. The book (or app) becomes a sort of status symbol, while its true purpose is mostly ignored.

      • As in, if you lived in Nazi Germany and didn't have a copy of Mein Kampf displayed prominently in the drawing room, pretty soon you would have no status?
        • Perhaps, or perhaps something along the lines of carrying a crucifix - replace crucifix with bible app. In either case, the real meaning can easily be ignored or avoided and the object becomes a status symbol, devoid of any true meaning.

      • It warms my heart to know that trapped in the midwest usa, I'm not in the biggest podunk religious shithole anymore. Thanks Nigeria for raising the bar.
    • by couchslug (175151)

      "You don't want people reading that thing. They'll start to see how wacky it is."

      Sophisticated atheists would question it, but ignorant tribesmen in mud huts aren't different from its original audience.

      Religion sells to the ignorant and the desperately self-deluding. The Third World is infested with it.

      • Sorry, you don't have to travel to the tiers monde to find ignorant and desperately self-deluding people. Just look at the churchgoing percentage in the USA versus Western Europe. (And just look, for that matter, at gamblers, especially the ones in hedge funds and banks).
  • Bible and Quran apps are a major feature of the Nigerian mobile content market. The evergreen 'Message Bible' was launched globally in December 2009 at almost the same time as 'Angry Birds.'

    And all three apps feature about the same kind of content.

  • Religious apps are popular in highly religious country.

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