The Landscape of Mobile Applications Development, and How Malaysia Fits In

I don’t claim to be a mobile development guru or ninja, but I’ve been a mobile developer since mid 00’s. I have experienced mobile development in the following conditions:

  • apps for my own company to sell
  • apps for other companies for them to sell
  • prototypes for project proposals
  • freelance coder working on parts of the whole app
  • sacred apps exclusively for my own personal use (most fun!)


They’re not at all the entire vibrant possible app development setups that exist. There’s still some conditions that I have yet to experience. Developing mobile apps in Malaysia is still ripe with opportunities.

My recent browsing about mobile applications development (not just in Malaysia) caught my attention on the following facts:

  • majority of app developers are not sustainable
  • 80% of the money only for 20% of the developers:


Simply put, out of 10 developers with total sales of 1M, 2 of them make 800K sales (400K each), while the other 8 make 200K sales (measly 25K each).

Daunting facts they are, that might turn off people from venturing into mobile development. To remedy this, those successful developers adopt the following:

    • Develop for clients:

Develop mobile apps for organizations wanting a mobile app of their own. Developers actively looking for clients are more successful than those who only wait. You know what they say about good things that happen to those who wait, right?

    • Niche apps (highly targeted function and audience):

Being niche means very little marketing drive is needed, since the target audience will be looking, and they won’t find many apps to choose from

  • have many apps on sale (cross marketing for each app)


Let’s get back to the scenario in Malaysia. Looking for clients to develop mobile apps for is a good idea. The issue is that Malaysia is not as big as some other countries. Meaning, less eyeballs for these apps to reach, especially if they are highly localized. Apps in Bahasa Malaysia and corporate apps for local businesses for instance. Hence, clients will be hard to come by, and are not willing to pay big bucks to boot.

One of the best thing about mobile applications is its ease to tap into global market via online stores such as Apple’s App Store and Google’s Google Play. Crunching loads of apps on a regular basis might be the way to go. Not all the apps will be a hit. You lose some, you win some. Just make sure the ones won will return more than enough to cover development of all the other apps (including the losing ones).