China Unicom – the world’s second-largest mobile operator – plans to commercially launch its application store in the second half of this year. In a statement released today outlining its first half 2010 performance, the company noted that by the end of the year it will “launch new services such as application store and e-reading to further enrich the 3G service applications.” No specific details were mentioned, but China Unicom noted the developments “will bring forth new profit growth for the company’s business.” The store is reportedly known as ‘Unistore.’
China Unicom began trialling the application store in February, but is likely waiting for the arrival of a plentiful supply of new 3G smartphones before commercially activating the service. Indeed, the operator noted today that it will launch more than 10 new smartphone models by the end of the year (including the iPhone 4). China Unicom’s 3G customer base stood at 7.56 million as of end-June, out of a total of 157 million total mobile connections. Last week China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator, revealed that its own Mobile Market application store had signed up 50,000 registered developers, offering 20,000 applications and achieving over 25 million downloads by the end of June 2010.