Huawei Launches App Store for Telecom Operators

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Chinese networking equipment maker Huawei is tapping into the mobile app store market by launching its own platform and making it available to telecom operators across the world.

Huawei's Digital Shopping Mall, launched on Monday, features 80,000 apps, and a vast collection of music, video clips and e-books. The company sees it as its newest solution for telecom operators wanting to provide a strong mobile app store to their users, but without investing the needed resources and time to build it, said George Huang, vice president of Huawei's software division.

"In this way if the telecom operator wants to launch a great deal of applications they can just utilize Huawei's hosted platform," Huang said. "As of now, we don't see the mature solution that we are offering."

The Digital Shopping Mall is being built with a larger scope than other app stores, such as the iTunes Store which is solely meant for Apple products like the iPhone. The Digital Shopping Mall features apps for different mobile operating systems such as Android, Windows Mobile and Symbian. At the same time, Huawei is aggregating apps from countries across the world. Telecom operators will be able to customize how they wish to offer the Digital Shopping Mall to their users.

The Digital Shopping Mall comes in the form of a downloadable mobile app, and is designed with social-networking features that can organize contacts and recommend products to friends. Digital Shopping Mall users can also opt to pay for the content they purchase through their own phone bill, rather than use a credit card.

No telecom operators have formally signed with the Digital Shopping Mall. But by launching the new platform, Huawei is hoping telecom operators will want to join and begin offering the store to their users.

Huawei is better known for being a global supplier of telecommunications equipment. But the Chinese company has seen increasing investment in its software division to meet the demand of telecom operators striving to expand their services beyond voice phone calls, Huang said. The company expects to provide more cloud computing mobile services like the Digital Shopping Mall in the future.

Huawei's Digital Shopping Mall, which took a year to develop, comes as other telecom operators in China have come out with their own app stores. China Mobile, the country's largest mobile operator, launched its own app store last year. Huawei believes the Digital Shopping Mall will simply complement other app stores, rather than compete.

"We see that telecoms like China Mobile have their own strategy. In those cases, we can just cooperate with them. We can connect our store with their store," Huang said.

Revenues for the apps on the Digital Shopping Mall are split 70 percent to the developers and 30 percent to the telecom operators. The Digital Shopping Mall is designed to be accessed from computers, mobile phones, iPads, e-readers, televisions and other devices.

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