On January 16, 2020, Huawei launched HMS Core 4.0 worldwide in its official WeChat. “This launch of the HMS Core 4.0 version is an important milestone for Huawei to build the HMS global ecology, ” Huawei said in a statement. The full launch of HMS Core 4.0 will further enable developers around the world to develop efficiently, grow rapidly and succeed in business.
HMS and HMS Core 4.0
Prior to that, Huawei Consumer Business CEO Yu Chengdong stressed in his internal staff New Year’s message that Huawei will strive to build the HMS Ecosystem by 2020, a very important part of this launch of HMS Core 4.0.
Specifically, HMS is an acronym for Huawei Mobile Service. It brings together Huawei’s terminal core-end-cloud capabilities, including a full set of open HMS Core, HMS Apps (core applications including Huawei Cloud Space, Huawei Smart Assistant, Huawei Application Market, Huawei Wallet, Huawei Video, Huawei Music, Huawei Reading, etc.), HMS Capabilities, HMS Connect, and the corresponding IDE tools for development and testing.
Among them, HMS Core provides the cloud-side core service capability that is open to the outside world, which is a collection of Huawei’s open-end cloud service capabilities. These capabilities and services will help the application gain more users, increase activity, and more efficient business success, while effectively lowering the development threshold and success, allowing developers to focus on innovation, and bring more and better full-scene intelligent living experiences to Huawei end users.
HMS Core 4.0, in addition to Huawei account, payment, analytics, cloud space, gaming services, as well as advertising and targeting services that have been in operation for many years, has also added machine learning services, context-aware services, unified scanning services, close communications services, panoramic services, New capabilities for security detection services, dynamic tag manager services, online fast authentication services, location services, fast application services, digital rights services, sports health services, user identity services, and more.
In May 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce added Huawei to its “entity list”, and Google later announced that it was suspending technical support for Huawei. At the time, a Reuters report read:
People familiar with the matter said Huawei would only be able to use a public version of Android in the future and would not be able to access proprietary applications and services from Google. “Proprietary apps and services” here refer to services licensed by the GMS Service, such as Google Core Apps such as Gmail, YouTube, google Maps, and require official Google certification and a fee Can be used.
In other words, with GMS licensing, overseas Huawei devices can bring their own Google services at the factory, and without GMS authorization, Huawei’s phones cannot pre-install Google’s applications and users cannot download and install them themselves. For smartphone makers, having access to these apps is an important factor in their competitiveness.
The lack of Google GMS services has affected Huawei’s smartphone presence in overseas markets to some extent, and has also contributed to the development of HMS.
In December 2019, Charles Peng, head of Huawei’s Consumer Business in India, told India’s Economic Times that Huawei was in talks with India’s top 150 app developers to invite them to HMS and provide subsidies of up to $17,000 each. Huawei also has a $1 billion global fund to develop HMS.
In addition, just this week, Huawei announced an investment of 20 million pounds to encourage UK and Irish developers to integrate applications into the HMS ecosystem. To attract more developers, Huawei has also introduced a suite of 24 positioning, health, language and other related features for developers to use.
Today, HMS has 600 million active users in more than 170 countries, more than 1.3 million registered developers worldwide, and more than 55,000 applications worldwide.
The first step of the Long March
The importance of HMS to Huawei’s smartphones is naturally self-evident.
Huawei has also confirmed that the overseas version of the P40 series, to be launched in Q1 in 2020, will be based on HMS services, not GMS services. This partly means that the GMS that Huawei has been carrying on its overseas phones has been replaced by HMS.
Let’s take a look at the performance of Q3 Huawei smartphones in the global market and the Chinese market in 2019.
According to Canalys, a market research firm, Huawei’s global shipments of smartphones in 2019 were 66.8 million units, of which 41.5 million were from the Chinese market, or 25.3 million units of Huawei smartphones shipped overseas in the quarter. Compared to 2018 Q3 26.9 million units of overseas shipments (based on the Canalys chart), Q3 Huawei’s overseas shipments in 2019 decreased by 5.9% YoY.
While Huawei’s smartphone growth in the domestic market has been strong, with Q3 accounting for nearly 42% of the market in 2019, shipments have indeed been affected to some extent in overseas markets.
While Huawei is actively looking for solutions and HMS continues to grow, hmS is still in its infancy.
Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight, told ZDNet that in the smartphone space, there have been several companies that have tried to break into the battleground between Android and iOS, including Microsoft, Samsung, and BlackBerry, but so far none has been truly successful.
In addition, Huawei’s mobile app has far fewer apps than the Google Play Store, which has 45,000 and the latter close to 3 million. Even if Huawei does bring in a lot of applications and developers for its platform, the company must maintain and update those applications on a regular basis. Moreover, it is not easy for Huawei to win applications and developers for its platform.
All in all, Huawei still faces challenges even as Google GMS licensing remains unclear, and given the stickiness of GMS services from overseas users. But the good thing is that Huawei has been actively seeking change – HMS’s continued growth is huawei’s attempt to get rid of Google’s dependence.
At present, Huawei has taken its own steps in India, the United Kingdom, Ireland and other markets to attract developers to build the HMS Global Ecosystem, in the foreseeable future, Huawei is also working with more countries, HMS will further develop.