Chinese Android users now have yet another alternative app store to choose from after the launch of Taobao’s new app market (pictured above). The store – at app.taobao.com – has lots of free apps and gaming titles, most of which are Chinese-only, such as the Flipboard clone Zaker. It even has apps that belong to rival e-commerce sites. One omission is the new Flipboard for Android ‘China Edition’.
While all the apps are free thus far, the Taobao app store has the potential to solve the Android app payment problem in China, since Taobao’s parent company, Alibaba, also runs the country’s largest e-payment platform, Alipay. China is one of the few areas where the Google Play store for Android cannot process payments. We’ll have to wait and see if that happens with this new venture. So far, the Taobao App Store lacks even a mobile app of its own, but it is now included in Taobao’s Android app.
The new store gives local developers a huge new audience, since Taobao is the nation’s most popular e-commerce site, and its Android app already has tens of millions of users.
The launch marks a reinvention of the “Taobao App Store” name and URL, as it was previously serving as a home for e-commerce-related tools and extensions since its initial opening in January 2010.