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China Unicom Launches ‘WoStore’ — Wall Street Journal

This article was posted on WSJ.com’s Digits technology blog as well as its China Real Time Report:

China Unicom has launched a long-expected application store for users to download apps like games and Internet browsers to their mobile devices, making it the latest mobile carrier looking to reproduce the success of Apple’s App Store.

Mobile carriers, especially, are building their own takes on the App Store as they look for sources of revenue besides providing simple data connections, a business where tough competition drives down margins. Many carriers want to control their own download stores in addition to any offered by the makers of their customers’ handsets…

Both China Unicom and China Mobile have long offered downloads of items like ringtones and handset wallpapers, and those value-added services have produced a good deal of revenue, said Dave Carini of Maverick China Research.

But that doesn’t necessarily give their newer application stores a leg up on the competition. The state-owned Chinese carriers are often slow to react to consumer demand, and have to cope with government censorship requirements and other regulations.

“You’re going to have more, heavier oversight by the operators here,” said Carini. “Since the application market is not as open, it’s going to develop more slowly.”


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