China “is number one” software opportunity

The Daily Telegraph has an insightful article on the huge mobile market in China interviewing the head of TestPlant, a software testing company which works on mobiles in China, amongst other places.

Taken from the piece ‘Geeks target China’s new PC – the mobile’

“China is number one,” he says. “There is a bigger opportunity here than in India. A couple of years ago, you would say India was the biggest market for our products. I don’t think it is now. What is happening here is going to rocket past India because software is going mobile.”

About 277m Chinese are now using their mobile phones to access the internet, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre. More than half of China’s computer users, in fact, don’t have a computer. Instead, they are taking the cheap option of using their phones to get online.

Those phones are computers,” says Mr Mackintosh. “You can use them to read a newspaper or get your executive reports.” For TestPlant, which licenses its computer program to help software developers test their products, it is a market that has emerged out of nothing.

The article addresses the iPhone in China:

An early start would be China’s 5m iPhone customers, who are currently mostly running hacked or pirated applications.

Apple’s application store has been a failure so far, in terms of popularity. Chinese customers are required to have an international credit card, rather than China’s domestic UnionPay system.

On that note, AFP has news of rumours that China Unicom will begin selling the iPad from mid/late September while the introduction of the iPhone 4 is delayed due to “technical procedures”:

China Unicom is likely to start selling Apple’s iPad tablet computer in the world’s largest Internet market in mid to late-September, state-run media said Friday.

But the launch of the trendy iPhone 4 is expected to be delayed due to protracted technical procedures to add the handset to Unicom’s mobile network, the China Business News reported, citing an unnamed source at Unicom.

Release dates and operator details for the iPhone 4 across the Asia Pacific region can be found at this post.