Baidu launches app store
Chinese search engine Baidu has unveiled a web-based app store, the Box Computing Open Platform.
The platform will carry games, videos, e-books and other applications, accessible directly through the Baidu site using any web browser, WSJ.com said.
Both free and paid apps will be stocked, with Baidu taking a 30% commission on fees. Alternatively, apps can generate revenue through advertising and user donations.
The app store could fill a niche that has yet to be addressed by competitors.
Although China Mobile has been running an online store since last year, Apple's App Store does not have a Chinese-language interface, and Google Market is often not integrated into Android phones sold in the country.
Apps developers told the Journal Baidu’s platform is appealing because of the firm’s reach.
The company has a 70% share of China's search market, and will offer a 30% commission on apps sold through the store – low by Chinese standards, but on-par with other app stores.
Baidu is currently working with a small group of developers, including 7K7K and PPTV, and will open up its development platform to small and individual developers next March, Sina.com reported.
Google this month revealed plans to launch an app store based on its upcoming Chrome browser OS, which is expected to launch in October.
Baidu CFO Jennifer Li revealed the firm will invest heavily in mobile search in the future, Reuters said.