Weekly app downloads in China hit their highest-ever level in the opening weeks of February, as quarantines imposed by authorities to contain the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus) saw people turn to their phones to tackle ennui and remain productive, data from App Annie showed.

In the week commencing 2 February, App Store downloads hit 222 million, a 45 per cent jump on typical weekly traffic through the whole of 2019. Education and business apps topped the list, the research company said.

A total of 7.4 million business apps were downloaded on iOS devices, up 115 per cent from the previous week. Within the category, communication apps DingTalk, owned by Alibaba, and WeChat Work by Tencent, were the most popular, followed by remote meeting offerings including Tencent Meeting, Zoom Cloud Meetings and Huawei Cloud Meetings.

DingTalk, which was outside the top 250 overall apps by daily downloads on iOS as of 25 January, even surpassed all games and other apps by downloads per day for the period from 5 February to 16 February.

The analyst company outlined the most downloaded apps so far in February were games, followed by education, entertainment, tools, and photo and video.

It noted downloads usually decline after Chinese New Year holidays, but said numbers continued to grow this year “as millions of workers and students leveraged mobile apps to seek alternative methods to resume daily activities remotely”.