Warner Music China has forged a groundbreaking union to distribute its digitalized catalog to users of mobile operator China Unicom, which claims to be the third largest such company in the world.

Warner Music China has forged a groundbreaking union to distribute its digitalized catalog to users of mobile operator China Unicom, which claims to be the third largest such company in the world.

Through the agreement, unveiled today (June 20), Warner Music boasts that it becomes the first major music group to enter a direct, catalog-wide content pact in the world's most populous market.

Warner Music will make available recordings as master ringtones and ringback tones, and will offer artist greetings featuring its acts via China Unicom's CDMA and GSM networks. China Unicom claims to have 130 million subscribers.

According to a statement from Warner, its artists will receive "significant marketing support" across China Unicom's network, through SMS marketing, menu listing, a dedicated Warner Music zone and cross-selling links on WAP sites.

Warner Music executives describe the pact as a milestone in positioning the major's global digital strategy. "We believe that the expansion of instant, compelling and secure mobile services in this region presents the music industry with huge opportunities, and we are proud to be at the forefront of those developments," Alex Zubillaga, executive VP, digital strategy and business development, Warner Music Group.

Warner Music has ramped up its activities in the Asian region in recent months. On June 6, the music company purchased a minority stake in Tokyo-based mobile-broadcaster and wireless-application developer FrontMedia. That followed Warner's May 10 announcement of a joint venture with South Korea's SK Telecom.

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