Fortumo an Estonian company, rolled out a new program called Fortumo Expand, and was launched on October 24, 2013. The launch of this program was to help Chinese app developers to make money overseas by selling their apps. Speaking about the reason behind this launch, Gewben Wu, Head of Fortumo Asia says, “While helping top Western developers to monetize their users with mobile operator billing in China, we realized that it’s equally difficult for Chinese developers to achieve international success. Due to the language barrier, differences in culture and business practices, it is often difficult for Chinese developers to find the right partners in the West. As we are the only Western mobile payment provider with a local presence in China, our goal is to help local developers bridge this gap and expand their business in new markets.” In China, Fortumo has tie ups with major telecom providers which include China Unicom, China Mobile and China Telecom.
Fortumo was launched in 2007, aiming to be the most developer friendly mobile payments provider. Mobi Solutions a specialist in SMS based service provider owned major stake in Fortumo when the service was launched. Back in February, 2013 Fortumo raised $10 Mn from Intel Capital and Greycroft Partners to foray into emerging markets, according to Techcrunch. Globally, Fortumo has presence in over 180 countries and has tie ups with over 300 carriers and 92,000 developers. Some of the popular app or game developers who use Fortumo’s direct carrier billing service include Pop Cap Games, Rovio (Angry Birds app maker), EA, Gameloft, Badoo, etc.
Today, Fortumo has tie ups with 30 Chinese app development companies, mostly from the gaming sector. Through Fortumo Expand, developers get to choose which market they would like to enter in. Fortumo also claims that the Chinese developers who sign up for the Fortumo Expand program would have access to 23 third party app stores. They would also have access to monthly reports which indicate which emerging markets have the highest revenue potential.
Martti Mustila Fortumo, former Head of Global Developer Programs at Nokia would be heading Fortumo Expand. Talking about how Fortumo Expand would help the Chinese app developers he says “We want to help Chinese developers get visibility. For Android developers, we help them publish in independent app stores and carrier stores. In the best cases, if an app is doing well, we can also build up a promotional campaign for them.”
Fortumo claims that the Fortumo Expand program would serve as a “one-stop shop” for Chinese developers that want to distribute their apps in other countries. The program claims to support Windows Phone, Android, and Windows 8 developers across 80 countries. Fortumo would be earning revenue through commissions. Fortumo would charge anywhere between 2% to 5% commission on an app.
LTP View: According to Xu Long, China Mobile’s Guangzhou subsidiary, only 13.7% of Chinese mobile app developers are actually making a profit. The launch of Fortumo Expand could be a shot in the arm for Chinese mobile app developers.