China Unicom Launches "WoStore"

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.

ZTE, a Chinese maker of telecommunications equipment and mobile phones, said this week it helped build the application service – called the WoStore – and that it will support “all open smartphone platforms” except the iPhone, as well as devices like tablets.

That suggests the Unicom store won’t compete directly with Apple’s App Store in selling downloads to iPhone users, a key source of subscribers for China Unicom’s 3G mobile services, which are more expensive than 2G services but offer faster data speeds.

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