Fortumo Opens Up Carrier Billing to All in China

Mobile payments firm Fortumo has announced direct carrier billing agreements with China Unicom and China Telecom, following an earlier partnership with China Mobile. Fortumo says it is now the only mobile payments provider who can provide mobile operator billing for in-app purchases to all 1.15bn mobile subscribers in China.

In addition to carrier billing, Fortumo can provide its customers with distribution in most leading Chinese channels, including China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom’s appstores, 360 Appstore, 91, Wandoujia, HiAPK, Baidu and number of others. Unlike Western countries, where most Android apps are distributed via Google Play, China has dozens of Android app stores.

Fortumo recently opened a Beijing office, and in May, announced a partnership with Chinese handset-maker ZTE to power in-app payments on ZTE Android smartphones and phones preloaded with games and apps. The first smartphones preloaded with apps from Fortumo’s customers will reach the market in Q3 2013.

“China is already the largest Android market in the world, but Western developers are struggling to enter the market as traditional payment methods, like credit cards, are available to few users, and distribution is very fragmented,” said Gerri Kodres, senior vice president of business development and carrier partnerships at Fortumo. “Carrier billing can account for up to 75 per cent of all revenues generated from Android apps in China. Now Fortumo enables international developers to take advantage of the most widely-available payment method in the country.”