China Mobile launched its online software and application store yesterday, the first such store to be run by a telecom carrier and a major move by the world's biggest mobile phone operator to create new revenue streams as competition intensifies.
The long-anticipated Mobile Market store, or www.mmarket.com, is a platform where developers can create games and other mobile phone applications and existing China Mobile subscribers can download such applications and services, the company said.
The store, modeled after Apple's similar online retailer, is targeting China Mobile's nearly 500 million users and is its latest thrust into the rapidly growing mobile application and services segment.
"The time is now ripe to aggressively develop the mobile phone application market as the 3G network is expanding and usage of smart phones is gaining in popularity in the country," Wang Jianzhou, president of China Mobile said.
China Mobile will encourage developers, which could include companies and individuals, to develop applications such as software, games, music and video services.
Developers could get 70 percent of the revenues from their applications sold on the online store, China Mobile said - a handsome revenue distribution policy that experts said was designed to attract more service providers to join its store.
The applications and services available on the online store will be provided free to users until the end of September, a move designed to foster the market.
The move is also seen as part of China Mobile's efforts to boost its 3G business, which is based on the homegrown standard TD-SCDMA.
The competition between the country's three carriers, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, is intensifying as the market, especially the voice business segment, is increasingly becoming saturated, forcing them to turn their battles to the fledging 3G services market.
Microsoft and Nokia are reportedly in talks with China Mobile to put their software and applications on the telecom carrier's online store.
(China Daily August 18, 2009)