China Mobile wants at least 50% of revenues from app store

Iris Hong
12 Jun 2009

China Mobile intends to take not less than 50% of revenues from each application sold at it upcoming mobile app store dubbed the Mobile Market, a source from China Mobile\'s Shanghai subsidiary said.

\'China Mobile wants at least 50% of the revenues and the rest goes to the developer,\' the source told Telecom Asia.

China Mobile, the dominant mobile operator in China with 483 million subscribers, is obviously more ambitious than its foreign rivals. Apple, Google, Nokia, Microsoft and Vodafone, which are either running or planning to open a mobile app store, all reportedly give developers 70% of the revenues. Orange is reportedly willing to negotiate the revenue split according to the popularity of the apps submitted to its Orange Application Shop.

The Mobile Market, now being developed by China Mobile\'s majority-controlled JV Aspire Technologies and Guangdong Province subsidiary, is likely to go live in September, the source said. It will allow developers to put out apps for all operating systems except the iPhone OS, such as Android, Windows Mobile and Symbian. The Mobile Market will be accessible from both GSM and TD-SCDMA phones.

Baoding-based Zhu Lianxing, who leads a team named \'139.ME\' to develop iPhone apps, said they have been approached by China Mobile to develop apps for the Mobile Market.

\'We are submitting two Window Mobile apps to China Mobile\'s Mobile Market - an app that provides driver license practice tests and the Love Forecast,\' Zhu said. The Love Forecast is a personal ovulation calendar that monitors the menstrual cycle, which Zhu\'s team developed for the iPhone originally. The biggest challenge China Mobile faces is that there are so many mobile phone models and it is difficult to provide a consistent user experience, Zhu said.

\'If we develop an app for Apple, it runs on both the iPhone and the iPod touch. Now we have to develop one app for each OS,\' he said.

The Mobile Market app store may have been another roadblock in negotiations between Apple and China Mobile over bringing the iPhone to China. The two companies have been in talks for quite some time, but Apple\'s insistence on being the sole distributor for iPhone applications would have been at odds with China Mobile\'s desire to offer its own service, which is why Apple is believed to be negotiating with China Unicom instead.

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