China Mobile’s app storefront is ‘barely usable’

Iris Hong
Telecom Asia

Chinese operators love the app store concept. Too bad no one told the developers. China Mobile launched Mobile Market in August - one of the world's first operator storefronts - while rivals China Telecom and China Unicom are beta-testing their own platforms.

But they have a long way to go to overcome the indifference of developers and consumers. Chinese app developers and analysts have told Telecom Asia that the three stores don't offer the same prospects as the Apple Store and are unlikely to challenge it any time in the near future. 

Li Xiang, an executive from IT outsourcing company Chengdu ChangeTec, has found Mobile Market to be "barely useable".

"The Mobile Market has many functional flaws and supports too few phone models," said Li.

He believes it will take time for all three operators' app stores to mature. Chengdu ChangeTec has supplied a widget development tool to the China Telecom store.  China Mobile's Mobile Market opened with approximately 2,000 applications, about half of which are Symbian-based.

Zhu Lianxing, who leads a team of ten developers at 139.ME, said his company was focusing almost exclusively on iPhone apps because it offered the only prospect of making money. 139.ME is earning $1,000 per day from the sales of a single iPhone app, the Aquarium screen saver. 

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