Amazon soft-launched a Chinese app store this weekend to sell verified Android programs in the People’s Republic. The rollout comes in advance of the Kindle’s launch in China, and Amazon has also created a Chinese-language development portal.
Although China is one of the world’s biggest Android markets (Apple has a comparatively small user base there), Google Play is difficult to access in much of the country. Chinese smartphone users rely on third-party app stores to purchase Android software, and much of this software isn’t vetted or analyzed before sale, leaving Internet users dealing with an epidemic of Android malware that drains bank accounts and steals passwords. One piece of malware, SMSZombie, infected more than 500,000 Chinese phone owners.