Kuaiyong, the Chinese software for managing and downloading iOS apps, and Wukong, a mobile game distributor, recently initiated a program, in order to encourage app downloads, trying to convince app developers, app stores and telecom operators to pay for data used for downloading apps.

China Unicom, one of the three Chinese telecom operators, has joined the two app distributors that all of its subscribers now don’t need to pay for the data used for downloading certain apps. Kuaiyong said the other two telcos, China Mobile and China Telecom, would join in the program later this year.

Also, Kuaiyong said they’d roll out an SDK for developers so that their apps can easily be customized for the program.

It’s easy to understand that making users willing to download apps anywhere and anytime, rather than downloading them later when free WiFi is available or forgetting to download them at all, apps will at least have chance to make money through in-app item sales or advertising and operators will make more money through app usage later on.

The selling point of Wukong, revamped from a mobile portal that was founded in 2004 and relaunched in April this year, is data-charge-free downloads.

Kuaiyong, the controversial iOS app store which got worldwide famous in the evad3rs’ iOS7 jailbreak scandal and venture backed by Chinese tech company Qihoo, seems to use the strategy to get a larger share in China’s iOS app market. As the Android app distribution market has been controlled by a few players, Baidu’s 91 Wireless, Qihoo 360, Wandoujia and Tencent’s MyApp, the land-grabbing war in  iOS app distribution have already started. Baidu has acquired App111 (91 Wireless also operates an iOS app store) and UC Web acquired Teiron.

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com

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