Apps versus web: the future of mobile marketing in China

David Wolf

When Apple launched its iPhone in 2012, it did not just set a new standard for mobile computing, it created a de facto standard for people to interact with the internet through a mobile device. Apple's iPhone ushered in the era of the app as the primary interface with the internet.

But five years after the introduction of the iPhone and four after the launch of the first Android devices, a growing chorus of voices, especially in China, is calling into question the assumed primacy of the app as the preferred means of interacting with the net.

The discussion in China began at GMIC in 2011, with representatives of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba calling into question the quality of a shopping experience using an app. The web, argued the Alibaba team, offered a superior shopping experience.