China Unicom, the third largest wireless carrier, has announced a partnership with Microsoft to boost Windows Phone sales in China, the China Daily reported.
Windows Phone currently holds 3 percent of the Chinese market, compared to Android’s 72 percent, according to Analysts International. The partnership will give Microsoft competitive footing alongside one of the largest players on the Chinese market with over 70 million subscribers.
In addition to a recently released Windows Phone, Microsoft has also moved into the tablet market in an effort to offset waning PC sales. The Windows mobile operating system seeks to gain ground in a market dominated by Apple and Google’s Android.
The partnership will likely help develop new phones and tablets for the market, as well as attract additional partners.
“China is the No 1 market worldwide in terms of PC, tablet, mobile and Internet users,” Microsoft’s COO Kevin Turner said in a statement. “We believe there is a great opportunity across the country to provide new business models to partners, new technologies to developers and best services to customers.”
Microsoft will be investing more in technical support as well as marketing.
The alliance will have at least seven cell phone manufacturers, include Nokia Corp, HTC Corp and Samsung Group, and the chipset makers Qualcomm Inc and Intel Corp.
Microsoft officially released its Windows 8 mobile operating system on the Chinese market last week. Previously, HTC had released two Windows Phone 8 devices that ran on China Unicom’s 3G network.