The Most Comprehensive Guide to App Development Costs in 2024: How Much Does It Cost to Write an App?

A key question: How much does it cost to develop an app? In this thriving market, creating a successful app requires not only creativity and technical skill but also a deep understanding of development costs and related strategies. We will delve into Hong Kong's 2024 app market, revealing the price and trends of app development. 



In the digital age, mobile apps are not just a hobby for tech enthusiasts but have become an integral part of daily life in Hong Kong. From morning alarms and weather forecasts to social media and entertainment at night, apps facilitate our lives and connect people and society. Amidst this backdrop, Hong Kong's app development market has experienced unprecedented growth. However, this raises a key question: How much does it cost to develop an app? In this thriving market, creating a successful app requires not only creativity and technical skill but also a deep understanding of development costs and related strategies. We will delve into Hong Kong's 2024 app market, revealing the price and trends of app development.


1. Current State of the Hong Kong App Development Market


Hong Kong's app development market is booming. Apps have become ubiquitous across all industries, from traditional retail to emerging technologies. Restaurants, retail, and entertainment industries have joined the app development trend, offering apps for ordering, online shopping, and booking events. Additionally, businesses use apps for more efficient management, enhanced customer experience, and increased brand loyalty. As the pace of life accelerates, the demand for convenient services rises, and mobile apps, offering instant and personalized services, meet this urgent need for information, shopping, and entertainment.

In 2024, we can anticipate continued steady growth in Hong Kong's app development market with several market trends worth noting:

  • Growth of industry-specific, customized apps: Specific, customized apps like health management apps for the medical industry and investment analysis apps for the financial sector are becoming more popular.
  • Rise of cross-platform development: The two main operating systems, Android and iOS, are promoting the development of cross-platform tools, saving costs and allowing apps to reach more users faster.
  • Expansion of AI and ML applications: Functions like smart recommendations, voice recognition, and facial recognition are enriching app functionalities and making them smarter.

2. Main Factors Affecting App Development Costs


The cost of app development is influenced by various factors. Understanding these factors is crucial for an accurate cost estimate:

1. Complexity of Features:

The range of functionalities significantly impacts development costs. Simple apps require less development, while complex ones with payment systems, social media interactions, and real-time messaging require more resources.

2. Development Approach:

Developers need to balance the pros and cons of cross-platform vs. native development. Cross-platform can save costs but may compromise on performance and user experience. Native development offers better performance and user experience but at a higher cost.

3. Integration and Customization of Backend Services:

Services like data storage, user management, and push notifications can increase costs if customized services like CMS or Big Data Analysis are needed.

4. Professional Expertise Required:

Different experts like UI/UX designers, front-end and back-end developers, and testers have varying skill levels and salary demands, directly impacting the overall cost.

3. Analysis and Budgeting of App Development Costs

When formulating an app development budget, it's essential to consider various factors, such as functionality, development approach, and backend service complexity. In-depth market price analysis can provide a better understanding of app development costs and help in making informed budgeting decisions.

Average Price Analysis

In 2023, the average cost for developing mobile apps in Hong Kong was around HK$150,000/project, with the lowest at HK$30,000 and the highest at HK$500,000, including basic development costs and potential additional expenses. These figures are based on over 80,000 quotes from app development companies. However, actual development prices may vary due to various factors.

Factors Affecting Lowest and Highest Prices

The lowest prices might reflect apps with simple functionalities, possibly developed using existing templates or just basic features. These are more suitable for small businesses or startups.

The highest prices usually correspond to feature-rich, complex apps like large corporate plans, game development, or social platforms. These require more development time and resources, hence the higher costs.

Reasons Behind Different Prices

The reasons behind different prices are varied and mainly depend on the following factors:

  • Functionality Requirements: The complexity of functions is a critical factor in determining the price. Apps that require integration of complex functions will have higher development costs.
  • Development Approach: The choice between cross-platform development and native development will affect the final price. Native development is generally more expensive.
  • Backend Services: If the app requires complex backend services such as data management, user authentication, message pushing, etc., the development cost will correspondingly increase.
  • Special Feature Requirements: If the app includes special features such as GPS navigation, QR Code scanning, AI-based intelligent answering systems, etc., this will also affect the development costs.
  • Development Duration: The length of development time directly impacts the development costs. Large-scale projects or complex app development usually require more time, which also means higher costs.

4. Development Time and Cost Comparison for Different Types of Apps

When choosing the type of app to develop, different options involve varying costs and processes. Here's a basic comparison:

Native App:

  • Characteristics: Developed using native languages (Android: Java/Kotlin; iOS: Swift/Objective-C).
  • Advantages: Provides the best performance and user experience.
  • Disadvantages: Longer development time; separate development needed for Android and iOS versions
  • Cost: Relatively higher.

Web App

  • Characteristics: Runs through a web browser.
  • Advantages: Lower cost; can run cross-platform.
  • Disadvantages: Limited functionality; poorer user experience.
  • Cost: Relatively lower.

Hybrid App

  • Characteristics: Combines features of native apps and web apps.
  • Advantages: Can run on different platforms; development costs are lower than native apps.
  • Disadvantages: Some performance and user experience compromises; certain functionalities may be difficult to achieve.
  • Cost: Between native apps and web apps.

Next, let's delve deeper into the development details and applicable scenarios for each type of app:

Simple App

  • Development Cost: Starting from HK$30,000
  • Development Time: 1 to 3 months
  • Applicable Situations: Mainly used for short-term purposes or displaying data, with lower traffic requirements.

Custom App

  • Development Cost: Ranging from HK$150,000 to HK$500,000
  • Development Time: 4 months to 1 year
  • Applicable Situations: Long-term use, versatile purposes, and higher traffic requirements.

Web App

  • Development Cost: Economical, varies based on development complexity
  • Development Time: Depends on the project
  • Applicable Situations: Mainly used for displaying information, with lower functionality and traffic requirements.

If you plan to list the application on the Apple App Store or Google Play, the corresponding platform fees are unavoidable.

  • Apple App Store Annual Fee: $99
  • Google Play One-time Fee: $25




The cost of developing an app is influenced by various factors, including the complexity of functionalities, development approach, backend service needs, and professional expertise required. This analysis aims to provide a clearer understanding of the cost estimation for app development, helping you make better choices for your development plan.