Web & communication software

China Mobile to Launch App Store This Year

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

Independent developers and firms will be allowed to upload applications for sale in the store, called the Mobile Market, the spokeswoman said.

The store is still in development and does not have a Web address yet, she said.

The Mobile Market was a sticking point in China Mobile's negotiations with Apple to offer the iPhone in China, according to analysts. Apple opposed competition for its App Store and 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 now extends to just 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 apps.

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