From India’s Indus OS operating system to Russia’s Yandex search engine, Huawei is trying to reach out to local app developers in some countries to deal with the lack of Google app services for overseas products, hong South China Morning Post reported.
It has been 10 months since the US blacklisted Huawei and banned from using Google apps and services on which its smartphones depend. Huawei’s new smartphones are bright, but without apps such as Google Maps, YouTube and the Google Play App Store, they are much less useful for people outside China.
But Huawei is not waiting to see its international market share being eaten away by its rivals. China’s biggest smartphone brand has been seeking to work hand-in-hand with local companies in some countries in a bid to get around the US app monopoly and kill a lifeline.
This week, Huawei reportedly began talks with OSLabs, an Indian systems application company that developed the Indus OS operating system. Huawei hopes to partner with the software company to create an Android app store that will reach hundreds of millions of smartphone users in India.
Indus OS App Bazaar currently has more than 400,000 local apps that support the local language in India. India is now the world’s second-largest smartphone market, according to MarketResearch.
Huawei has not confirmed the deal and declined to comment.
Huawei’s collapsible smartphone, Mate Xs, still has Google’s Android system, but none of the Google apps.
However, some in the industry are sceptical about whether Huawei’s efforts will pay off. Kiranjeet Kaur, senior research manager at IDC, a market research firm, points out that Indians, like the rest of the world, are also heavily addicted to Google’s apps.
“The share of local developers in India’s smartphone market has been declining, and when many people are just starting to use smartphones, they’re focusing on the low-end smartphone market. “
As data traffic becomes cheaper, apps such as YouTube are rapidly becoming more popular in India, Mr Kaur said. The same is true for Facebook apps such as WhatsApp and Messenger, which are not currently available in Huawei’s own app store, App Gallery.
The situation is different in Russia, but it is not because of user preferences. Huawei has found a first chance in Russia because of its policies. Abhirash Kumar, an analyst at Counterpoint, said the Russian government requires smartphone makers to pre-install local apps to promote technological innovation in the country.
“Overall, the localization of applications, coupled with the prospect of a partnership with the Yandex Group, is in China’s favor, and we believe Huawei will benefit,” Kumar said. In Russia, Yandex is a more popular search engine than Google, he added.
But Huawei isn’t solely pinning its hopes on its partners. The company’s main weapons include the App Gallery App Store, which is labeled Google Play, and Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), which is designed to replace Google’s Mobile Services (GMS).
On Huawei’s AppGallery app store, you can find the overseas version of TikTok, but you can’t find Netflix or WhatsApp.
Huawei’s new application and service suite is intended to replace some of the features Google offers to other applications. Uber, for example, integrates Google Maps, which means that without Google’s service, its taxi app would n’go. To that end, Huawei has been developing its own mapping toolkit, which is linked to local mapping services that app developers can use as a substitute for Google’s services.
To attract app developers to work together, Huawei has launched the “Shining-Star” Star project, which includes a $1 billion incentive fund. From Malaysia to South Africa, Huawei has been holding developer conferences to engage with local developers. The company has also earmarked $50 million to promote local application development in Latin America.
Huawei says its HMS ecosystem currently has 600 million users in more than 170 countries and regions around the world, and 1.3 million developers have joined the HMS platform. Many popular apps are already available on Huawei phones, including Snapchat, Booking and Amazon. But many analysts seem unconvinced that consumers around the world will risk experimenting with other unfamiliar application ecosystems just to use Huawei’s phones.
“With the exception of China, mobile phone users in other countries are now dependent on Google’s apps, ” says Mr Kaur. “