Fortumo, an Estonia-based mobile payments provider, has announced direct carrier billing agreements with China Unicom and China Telecom. Together with an earlier China Mobile partnership, Fortumo claims it is the “first and only” mobile payments provider who can provide mobile operator billing for in-app purchases to all 1.15 billion mobile phone subscribers in China.
“China is already the largest Android market in the world, but Western developers are struggling to enter the market as traditional payment methods, like credit cards, are available to few users and the distribution is very fragmented,” said Gerri Kodres, senior vice president of business development and carrier partnerships at Fortumo.
Kodres added that carrier billing can account for up to 75 per cent of all revenues generated from Android apps in China, and that Fortumo now “enables international developers to take advantage of the most widely-available payment method in the country”.
Unlike Western countries that use Google Play as a standard store, China has tens of channels for Android distribution. So, in addition to carrier billing, Fortumo says it can provide its customers (developers) with a way to monetise their apps on a variety of Chinese channels, including 360 Appstore, 91, Wandoujia, HiAPK and Baidu.
Moreover, Fortumo has established a Beijing office through which the firm aims to act as a bridge for Chinese developers seeking to monetise overseas (and overseas developers seeking to monetise in China).
The Estonian firm has closed deals with a range of Chinese developers – including CocoaChina/Chukong, Gamewave and Boyaa – for monetising games in international markets.
In May, Fortumo announced a partnership with ZTE to start powering in-app payments on the Chinese supplier’s Android smartphones and phones “preloaded with quality games and apps”.
The first smartphones preloaded with apps from Fortumo’s customers are slated to reach market in Q3 2013.