Today, China Unicom officially launched its WO+ platform for its China market. The platform is quite ambitious and could change how the mobile app market operates in China. To keep it simple, first imagine that China Unicom opened an app market similar to Apple’s appStore. Not a bad start. Now take it a step further and back up that application store with China Unicom’s direct to user marketing capabilities (SMS messaging, in-app store marketing, etc.). Then shake it up a little with some targeted advertising based on China Unimcom’s vast user information database. Finally, spike the punch by forming a community of WO+ member companies where data, resources, and skills are shared to create a fast and efficient marketing, sales, and distribution system.
A little confusing? Good, I’m not alone, but in theory at least, that’s the plan.
Obviously, this is a rather ambitious platform they are putting into play. I’m sure that there are going to be some rough spots in the beginning, but the lure once it gets rolling, makes it a platform whose lure to developers is undeniable. A developer can tie its app to the WO+ platform and then take advantage of not only their abilities to target customers, but also the entire community.
The Gang’s All Here!
As a show of support for the new system, Halfbrick Studios’ CEO, Shaniel Deo, and i-Free’s Asia CEO, Evgeny Kosolapov, were on hand for the unveiling. Halfbrick Studios, a major investor in GMIC 2012, is the company behind the popular mobile game, Fruit Ninja. i-Free is Russia’s largest mobile marketing services and consulting company.
Additionally, a host of China’s leading mobile industry players were there to voice their support. Lei Jun (CEO of Xiaomi and GWC Chairman), Charles Chao (CEO of Sina, maker of the popular micro-blogging service), Xue Manzi (One of China’s most famous angel investors), and Wang Jian (the mastermind behind Jack Ma’s Alibaba mobile cloud computing platform) to name just a few.
It Might Just Be Crazy Enough To Work
WO+ is obviously something that would be greeted with a great deal of consumer push back in United States due to U.S. consumers not being huge fans of having their data tracked by anyone. Additionally, the carriers are not as powerful as they are here in China – but in China it might actually work.
China’s current app distribution market is a marketing team’s worst nightmare to say the least. As we’ve mentioned before, China’s current app distribution market consists of dozens of major application channels. Knowing the who, what, when, and where of getting your apps into the hands of the most consumers possible requires a dedicated knowledge of not only the channels, but the psychology of the Chinese consumer as well.
An attempt to lure developers under one roof (and thus, consumers) will be one of the most significant triumphs the industry in China has seen in over a decade if it can be done. A betting man would bet against the attempt in a heart beat, but if the backing is there by the players and it is serious, perhaps it can be done…then look to see China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless carrier, to clone it.
China Unicom unveiled a massive marketing, sales, and distribution platform. China Unicom threw a party. Lots of China Unicom’s friends showed up. There was food.