China's second-largest mobile phone service provider, China Unicom, is in discussions with Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom to work together on their app stores.
China Unicom may tie up with its Taiwanese counterpart on e-book sales as an initial part of a broader plan to work more closely, said a source familiar with the situation. The discussions were revealed at a China-Taiwan telecommunications industry conference in Beijing.
China Unicom was the first company to start selling iPhones in China, the same distinction Chunghwa Telecom holds in Taiwan. China Unicom, however, has been slow to develop an app store of its own, although the iPhones it sells do connect to Apple's China-focused app store. There are reports that China Unicom's app store, apparently named the UniStore, is coming soon.
An executive from Chunghwa Telecom confirmed the discussions but said he could not speak further about the issue.
Chunghwa Telecom opened its first app store, called Hami Apps, last month. The company started selling e-books online late last year.
Taiwanese mobile service providers have largely focused on offering apps for use on Google's Android mobile software. In China, China Mobile has focused on its Android-based Ophone platform, while China Unicom is reported to be building an Android-focused app store as well.
China Mobile last year started working closely with Taiwan's Far EasTone Telecommunications, setting off speculation that China's other two mobile phone service providers, China Unicom and China Telecom, might also soon seek Taiwanese partners.