- Huawei is ramping up its efforts to expand its app store in Europe, according to a new report.
- The company has reportedly been holding discussions with carriers in Europe and has been pitching developers on optimizing their apps for its platform.
- Huawei’s app store will be especially important for the Chinese tech giant as its upcoming devices will not have access to Google’s Play Store after August 19.
- The company has developed its own mobile operating system to replace Android, and its efforts to bolster its own app store further suggest Huawei could have been preparing for an alternative to Google’s services.
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Huawei has been quietly convincing app developers to optimize their apps for its own app store, according to a report from Bloomberg News.
Huawei’s App Gallery has been available on its mobile devices for years, and the company expanded the store to devices outside of China in 2018. But the company has reportedly been ramping up efforts to expand its own app store by holding talks with wireless carriers in Europe to pre-install the storefront on new devices. The Chinese tech giant has told potential partners that 50 million customers in Europe would be using its app store by the end of 2018, according to the report.
A Huawei representative did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Huawei’s App Gallery will be increasingly important for the company as Google severs ties with the firm in a move that would restrict it from using Google’s Play Store and apps on new devices moving forward. That’s because the US Deparment of Commerce has placed Huawei on an entity list that would require US companies to obtain government permission before working with it. The US government issued Huawei a reprieve on Monday that would allow the company to continue maintaining and providing updates to its existing US handsets until August 19.
But if Huawei wants to use Android after August 19, it will have to use the free open-source version of the software, which is not controlled by Google. That means future software updates, apps, and features for the company’s phones must be distributed by Huawei, not Google.
Huawei said in March that it has developed its own operating system that could be used to replace Google’s software in the event that it would no longer be able to work with the search giant. That it’s also been working more closely with app developers recently further suggests the company may have been preparing for a scenario in which it will not have access to Google’s Play Store. But it’s unclear how successful those efforts will be if Huawei is unable to work with major American app makers like Facebook, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, and Epic Games, the company behind “Fortnite.”
Huawei has reportedly been trying to sell developers on the processing power of its products to entice them into creating apps for its app store. In its pitch materials to developers, the company also mentions a tool for easily tailoring apps developed for Google’s store for its own App Gallery, Bloomberg’s report says. A crucial part of Huawei’s pitch also involves providing app developers with exposure to the app market in China, where Google’s services are banned.
Bloomberg’s report suggests Huawei is focusing its app store efforts on Europe, which is a key market for the Chinese tech behemoth. Huawei’s devices account for 23.3% of the smartphone market in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, according to data from Canalys provided to Business Insider. That makes it Huawei’s second largest smartphone market outside of the Greater China region.
It’s unclear how far along Huawei’s own mobile operating system is, which might be called “HongMeng OS,” but it’s said to have been in development since 2012.