Chinese consumers spent $1.7 billion on Apple-sanctioned mobile apps in the third quarter of this year. That is about 15 per cent higher than the Americans’ spend of nearly $1.45 billion.

According to sources the US market had led in Apple app store spending since 2010. In Q3 2016, Chinese consumers spent more than five times the amount they spent just two years prior in the iOS App Store.

More Chinese consumers are buying mobile video games than ever, specifically those considered to be “multiplayer collaborative games” which people can play with or against other users.

Apple recently announced it would open a research and development centre in Shenzhen — the hardware manufacturing hub for the world. Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly met government officials to formally announce the new centre.

An Apple spokesperson told Quartz.”We are excited to open a new research and development centre here next year so our engineering team can work even more closely and collaboratively with our manufacturing partners.”

Apple and Chinese bank card association UnionPay Shoppers also launched Apple Pay earlier this year.

Cook last year said China would be Apple’s largest market within two years and that the number of Apple stores in China would almost double to 40 within that time frame.