China Unicom, with key support from ZTE Corp, has introduced a 3G mobile applications portal called WoStore on the mainland. The service will compete against larger rival China Mobile's online Mobile Market and the recently launched simplified Chinese version of the App Store for Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices. According to ZTE, it designed and implemented WoStore to support all smartphone platforms except Apple's iOS operating system. 'Compared with Apple's App Store, Wo is more localised, with more Chinese-language apps and a more convenient payment system via prepaid credit,' Macquarie Securities analyst Lisa Soh said in a report. Programs on Apple's App Store also need to be bought with a credit card. Apple last month started providing localised software applications among more than 300,000 free and paid programs on its store. WoStore will initially support nearly 1,000 WCDMA-standard 3G handsets being used by Unicom subscribers. 'The potential for [mainland mobile] apps stores depends on handset take-up,' Soh said. 'China Unicom has the advantage given that it has the best handset supply chain of all [domestic 3G] operators, which could lead to meaningful uptake of Wo.' Unicom, the country's No 2 mobile-phone network operator, had 10.6 million 3G users and 151.5 million 2G subscribers as of September this year. The company is also Apple's sole mainland carrier-partner for the iPhone, which it began offering in October last year. Mobile Market was pre-launched in August last year, while China Telecom Corp's eStore has been on trial since March. Computer maker Lenovo Group has also embarked on a mobile application store initiative. It formed an alliance with South Korean carrier SK Telecom to develop programs for the 3G LePhone and upcoming LePad media tablet. ZTE said it hoped to promote adoption of the application store solution it used on Unicom to other 3G network operators worldwide.