MWC 2012 - China Mobile: a mindbogglingly big platform
President Li, CEO China Mobile, used the Mobile World Congress 2012 stage to talk about China Mobile's 'Mobile Market' initiative, a countrywide platform for mobile internet service development which he described as China's largest job creation platform.
He said that Mobile Market, while still some way short of Apple's stats in China, had 3.7 million registered developers (though only 115k apps so far), 169 million registered users and 670 million downloads.
Paraphrasing the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, China Mobile is a vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big company. It has 655 million customers - or about 2x the population of the US and nearly 10% of the world's population. So, despite President Li's modesty on Mobile Market's numbers to date, 169 million registered users is a quarter of China Mobile's customer base - and only just less than the population of Pakistan, the 6th most populous nation on the planet.
In 'Mobile Market' China Mobile's approach to innovation is a fascinating blend of state lead, industrial scale centralised investment, and a classic two-sided business model to create value for China Mobile, and jobs and skills for the Chinese Economy.
Finally, it's intriguing to note that there are 12 functions and 159 APIs available to developers via Mobile Market (see chart below), and we will be taking a further look at China Mobile's strategy and approach in subsequent Telco 2.0 analysis.
And we've not even touched on their plan to deploy 1 million WLAN hotspots, with roaming between them and networks in South Korea and Japan. Even if that does sound a little like an effort to get over the government's imposition of TD-SCDMA technology on China Mobile and the massive re-org of the industry that followed, it's still very impressive.