Publications / Policy Brief

Japan’s App Economy

By and / 11.16.2016

The introduction of Apple’s iPhone in 2007 initiated a profound and transformative new economic innovation. Today, less than a decade later, there are 4 billion smartphone subscriptions globally, an unprecedented rate of adoption for a new technology. Mobile data usage is rising at 55% per year, a stunning number that shows its revolutionary impact.

More than just hardware, the smartphone also inaugurated up a new era for software developers around the world. Apple’s launch of the App Store in 2008, followed by Android Market (now Google Play) and other app stores, created a way for iOS and Android developers to write mobile applications from anywhere in the world, with the ability to sell and distribute them globally.

This paper examines the economic impact of the App Economy in Japan. We estimate that App Economy employment in Japan totaled 579,000 as of April 2016.


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