Huawei Offers Developers $26 Million to Build Apps for Its Play Store Equivalent

Jan 15, 2020
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Ever since its tussle with the US government, Huawei has been unable to offer Google Mobile Services on its devices. Services such as the Google Play Store are a linchpin of the Android experience, and their absence is a dealbreaker for many users. Any other company would have shut shop by now, but the world's largest telecommunication equipment manufacturer isn't going out without a fight.

Huawei has been hard at work trying to develop an app ecosystem that is independent of the Google Play Store. Last year, a company executive claimed that Huawei's equivalent of Google apps is 'nearly complete' and that they are like the real thing. Last year, the company reported that it had over 500 million active users. The Chinese behemoth has reportedly set aside a whopping $1 billion for the endeavor.

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At the Huawei Developers Conference held in London on Wednesday, Huawei announced a £20 million ($26 million) investment to incentivize British and Irish app developers to make apps for its Play Store equivalent Huawei App Gallery. A company executive also took some not-so-subtle jabs at Apple and Google, stating that Huawei takes only a 15% revenue cut, instead of 30%. Earlier last year, the company also invested $20 million in India for the same purpose.

Strictly speaking, a lack of Google Mobile Services isn't much of a problem. One can sideload most, if not all, apps from third-party repositories such as the Amazon App Store, F-Droid and APKMirror. But one loses out on key features such as Play Protect and automatic updates.

But the real question here is, will that be enough to convince developers to work on App Gallery. Yes, Huawei has a large number of users worldwide, but that won't convince a large chunk of them to make the switch to an unknown platform. There are only a handful of Huawei devices that have launched without the Play Store, and a significant amount of users still rely on it for their apps. Lastly, a lot of big names such as WhatsApp and Facebook are yet to publish their apps on App Gallery.

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