China Mobile to launch app store this year

China Mobile hopes to launch an application service like Apple Inc.'s App Store by the end of this year as it rolls out a next-generation mobile network, a company spokeswoman said today.

Independent developers and companies will be allowed to upload applications to sell in the store, which will be called the Mobile Market, the spokeswoman said.

The store is still in development and doesn't have a Web address yet, she said.

The Mobile Market was a sticking point in negotiations between China Mobile and Apple Inc. over the terms under which the iPhone would be made available in China, according to analysts. Apple opposed competition for its App Store, but China Mobile wanted to be able to offer iPhone apps in its Mobile Market, analysts say.

China Mobile this year is expanding its 3G mobile network based on the China-developed standard called TD-SCDMA (Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access).

Coverage for the largely unproven standard extends to 10 major Chinese cities, but expanding the wireless broadband access it offers could make it easier for China Mobile to sell value-added services and products such as applications.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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