Mon, Dec 26, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Telecoms trio looks to apps

Staff Writer, with CNA

The top three telecoms operators in Taiwan said on Saturday that they are keeping a close eye on the app market, aiming to explore the fast-growing sector after the government pledged to develop the app sector to boost the country’s innovation capabilites.

In late October, the Ministry of Economic Affairs announced that it would invest between NT$1 billion and NT$2 billion (US$33 million and US$66 million) to set up an app development park.

According to the ministry, global app downloads reached 8 billion and brought in about US$10 billion in revenue last year.

The ministry expects annual sales in the app market to reach US$50 billion in the next five years.

The market for app downloads is expected to grow to 18.1 billion this year, experts predicted.

Encouraged by this stunning growth, Chuanghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), the nation’s largest telecoms carrier, said it is determined to transform Hami Apps, the company’s app store, into the country’s top app brand by stocking renowned apps.

So far, the store has more than 3,300 apps, with more than 500,000 subscribers as of the end of last month, Chunghwa said.

In the second half of this year, the company’s app downloads doubled from the first half of the year and accumulated app downloads have reached 2 million, it added.

Rival Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信) said its app store, S Market, has almost 4,000 apps and accumulated downloads have exceeded 3.2 million.

In addition, Far EasTone provides 450 apps in Mobile Market — the app store of China Mobile Ltd (中國移動) — which is one of largest telecoms operators in China, generating 2.5 million downloads.

Far EasTone said it is also lending technical and financial support to the academic sector, including National Taiwan University and Yuan Ze University, to strengthen software development.

Meanwhile, Taiwan Mobile Co (台灣大哥大) said it is working with app developers to come up with more software for smartphone users to boost the number of apps in its app store, Match Market, to 3,000 by the end of this year.

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