updated 05:00 pm EST, Tue November 17, 2009
Piracy, device limitations hamper potential
The App Store is doing fairly well in China, in spite of obstacles to its adoption, says the Wall Street Journal. Over $1 million in sales are said to have been made so far, a significant amount given the short space of time in which the store has been open. Some popular apps include the instant messaging title QQ, and the real-time strategy game Command & Conquer: Red Alert.
Several factors may make the App Store less than desirable for many Chinese. Most of the apps available are described in English, and shoppers must buy them with a credit card from a Chinese bank, a relatively rare possession. Current Chinese iPhone models also lack Wi-Fi, limiting the functionality of some programs. The feature is expected to be restored later this year.
A bigger concern is said to be piracy, as there are thought to be over 2 million jailbroken iPhones in the country. All of these can potentially install stolen apps, and local pirate websites typically feature more comprehensible Mandarin instructions.
Only 5,000 official subscribers are reported to have signed up with China Unicom at launch, but it is estimated that the carrier could sell as many as 550,000 iPhones within the space of a year.