Merchant Innovation

China's Smartphone Makers Team On App Platform To Rival Google

Several Chinese smartphone developers are working on an alternative to the Google Play Store that could challenge its dominance in the field of app-downloading services. Reuters reported that Huawei, BBK’s Oppo and Vivo, and Xiaomi are collaborating on the project, uniting under the Global Developer Service Alliance (GDSA).

Google is banned in China, so Android users in the country already utilize a variety of stores to purchase apps. Many of them are already maintained by Huawei, Oppo and other such services. However, in other areas, the Google Play Store remains the primary source for smartphone apps, so much so that other app stores have struggled to make gains.

The GDSA team-up between the companies could challenge this, however, as its services are planned for nine countries already — among them Indonesia, India, Russia and Malaysia. Xiaomi is strong in India, and Huawei is prominent in Europe. Together, the four companies controlled about 40 percent of global smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter last year.

Under the new platform, it would be "easier for developers to upload their apps to every store at once, while ensuring some degree of parity across app stores," reports said.

Huawei has particularly been affected by Google's wide influence in the market, having "lost its license to offer Google's apps and services last year." The company cannot offer the Google Play Store anymore, either, which caused the company to decide against "releasing its last flagship, the Mate 30," across the world. It is currently working on a new operating system: the Harmony OS.

In addition, Huawei is investing $1 billion to fund things like user growth and marketing for an alternative to Google's services called Huawei Mobile Services.

Meanwhile, Xiaomi is planning to funnel billions into artificial intelligence development and 5G tech over the next several years.

Google earns a significant portion of its revenue from the Google Play Store, which takes a 30 percent cut of any sale it makes. Google Play made about $8.8 billion for Google last year across the globe, and the GDSA team-up wants to get in on that action.

Though the service was slated to launch in March, according to sources familiar with the companies, the coronavirus outbreak may have delayed that from happening.

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