iPhonAsia comment: China Mobile has made no secret of their intent to build their own app store and promote their own value added services (VAS) platform (Monternet), their wireless music services platform (www.12530.com) and their brand new Web 2.0 platform – similar to MobileMe. China Mobile made 27% of their revenue in 2008 through their VAS and they don’t want any leakage to Apple.
China Mobile has already launched R&D for its own Android powered mobile operating system, jointly with cell phone producer Lenovo. The new MOS has been dubbed Ophone. With its own operation system, China Mobile can install more services of its own.
China Mobile has also paid Topssion and Accenture plenty of yuan to work on customization plans for TD-SCDMA handsets and perhaps to feed them news they want to hear … “you can build your own app store just like Apple … and here’s how can we help.”
It is quite possible that China Mobile pushed hard in an effort get Apple to strip down the iPhone (no WiFi, no App Store, no iTunes, etc.) in favor of China Mobile’s own VAS. It’s also possible that Apple said “No!” China Unicom also wants to push their own VAS but they are eager to steal away customers from the dominant China Mobile and may be open to “less” crippling. If China’s carriers insist on over customization of iPhone (dumbing down iPhone in favor of their own VAS), Apple may roll in China sans a formal carrier deal.
June may be the timeframe for official announcements in China. Apple has a China roadmap. There’s ample evidence that Apple has a China distribution plan and recent China job postings suggest that plans are well along the path.
More on Apple and China Unicom rumors > HERE
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iPhone talks between China Mobile (NYSE:CHL, 941.HK) and Apple (Nasdaq:APPL) remain at a standstill after one-and-a-half years of negotiations, reports Sina quoting a China Mobile insider. The report says Apple currently hopes to sell the iPhone without any operator commitments, allowing users to purchase mobile software through Apple’s iTunes Store. China Mobile chairman and CEO Wang Jianzhou said that would be Apple’s loss since the Chinese are not accustomed to making purchases online via credit card.