Web site for China Mobile's application store appears

By Owen Fletcher, IDG News Service |  Mobile & Wireless, China Mobile

A Web site for China Mobile's upcoming mobile application store appeared online on Friday, giving a preview of what free and paid downloads the carrier will offer to its more than 480 million subscribers.

The Web site for what the carrier calls the Mobile Market is split into game, software, music, video and theme download sections.

But the site appeared to be in a testing phase. Download links were broken, and a China Mobile spokeswoman said the market had not opened. She said more information about its opening would be available around September.

The platform may make China Mobile the world's first carrier to operate its own application store. It follows the opening of other paid download platforms inspired by the success of the iPhone App Store, including Google's Android Market and the Ovi Store run by Nokia.

China Mobile, the largest carrier in China and the world by subscribers, previously said it aimed to open the store this year and that independent developers would be free to sell applications through it.

But China Mobile might not split revenue with application developers as favorably as other download store owners have. The carrier will take half of the revenue from downloads, leaving the other half for developers, according to local media. Apple takes 30 percent of the proceeds from App Store downloads and leaves the rest for developers.

This year China Mobile is also expanding coverage for its 3G mobile network, which uses a domestically developed standard and but has attracted few subscribers so far.

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