Mobile Roadie, a self-service app development platform for brands and music, launched its system in a crowded but fragmented China platform ecosystem today.
The China mobile application market is characterized by confusion right now. Already-strong local players like Tencent have launched mobile app platforms to sell apps for Android and iOS. But those platforms depend on partnerships with companies in Europe and the United States.
Mobile Roadie is tearing up that formula. It's a Western company that's letting local developers make apps for themselves.
Those developers will have strong ties with big brands that want to reach out to China's hundreds of millions of consumers, but struggle with the chaotic market conditions in the rapidly growing sector, says Mobile Roadie CEO Michael Schnieder.
"Our hope is to bring some semblance of order to the chaos with legitimate high quality apps for major brands. We think that even though it is chaotic, higher quality is still desired by major brands and businesses," says Schneider.
The company is working with local provider Q-Mobao as well as the two largest mobile phone providers in the country, China Mobile and China Unicom, to implement the launch.
China boosts nearly 100 million smartphone service subscribers, and companies as diverse as Microsoft and Coca-Cola are entering into agreements to push out their product marketing to increasingly savvy and high-spending consumers in China's largest cities.
The platform integrates with YouTube, Brightcove, Flickr, Twitpic, Ustream, Topspin, Google News, RSS, Twitter, and Facebook while providing a service for brands and musicians to spread their messaging to the mobile market. Musicians, like Madonna, now have an app-based platform to spread their music and influence to the huge China audience.
Some of the bigger local mobile tech players in China have opened up their own app platforms, and there are several Android imitation apps that work on local and cheeaper versions of popular Western smartphones.
China Mobile, which does not even distribute the iPhone, says that it has seven million iPhones using its network at the present moment. The market is also flooded with knock-off iPhones sold for as little as $80.