Hoping to mimic Apple’s success with the App Store, mobile operators around the world are building their own application stores.
Among them is China Unicom, the nation's second largest mobile operator with 162 million subscribers. Unicom launched its WoStore early this month to compete with Mobile Market from China Mobile and eStore from China Telecom.
WoStore, which is named after its “Wo” brand of 3G services, is an important part of China Unicom’s 3G service strategy and it leverages on the operators’ extensive range of W-CDMA terminals and rich mobile applications.
The new app store, developed exclusively by ZTE, currently features more than 2,600 apps falling into business, game, lifestyle, entertainment and other categories.
Jin Mingye, an employee of China Unicom’s product innovation department, said the company has adopted the de facto 70/30 revenue share split. Currently WoStore has a pay-per-download model, but in-app payments and in-app advertising will be “coming soon,” Jin told audience at Mobile World Congress in Hong Kong last week.
The company is targeting 2 million registered users and 10 million downloads by the end of 2010. These figures are expected to grow to 16 million users downloading 190 million times in 2011, and 53 million users and 680 million downloads in 2012, Jin noted.
Dong Zhengjiang, vice president of ZTE’s communication services R&D institute, said the app store consists of two modules, “Online Store” and “Developer’s Community”.
The first serves as the gateway for mobile users to discover and download mobile applications. It consists of user management, merchandise management, transaction management and business support tools. Users can log on to access it through the web, WAP, mobile phone client, or PC client.
The “Developer’s Community” provides rich application development resources and powerful support for application development, in a bid to create a sound development communication environment for personal or institutional developers.
Dong said WoStore currently supports several hundred models of handsets and will support all open smartphone platforms except for iPhone, as well as terminal devices such as tablet PCs and MIDs (mobile Internet devices).
ZTE and China Unicom will also team up on supporting about 1,000 W-CDMA handset models through the customized AppStore. This collaboration is focused on tapping the advantage of W-CDMA via a wide variety of terminals available.
Dong added that both companies intend to reinforce the transaction function of this platform to deliver other features, such as flexible payment modes and precise, fast user data mining.