China’s smartphone makers to challenge dominance of Google’s Play store

China’s smartphone makers such as Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo are joining hands to create a platform for developers outside China to challenge the dominance of Google’s Play store.
Huawei phone campaign in China
The four companies have formed the Global Developer Service Alliance (GDSA) – enabling the platform to make it easier for developers of games, music, movies and other apps to market their apps in overseas markets, Reuters reported.

A prototype website says the platform will initially cover nine regions including India, Indonesia and Russia.

Google, whose services are banned in China, earned about $8.8 billion globally from the Play store in 2019, said Katie Williams, an analyst at Sensor Tower. Google also sells content such as movies, books and apps on the Play store and collects a 30 percent commission.

“By forming this alliance each company will be looking to leverage the others’ advantages in different regions, with Xiaomi’s strong user base in India, Vivo and Oppo in Southeast Asia, and Huawei in Europe,” said Nicole Peng, the VP of Mobility at Canalys.

The four companies made up 40.1 percent of global handset shipments in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to IDC.

While Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi have access to Google services in overseas markets, Huawei lost access for new devices last year after the United States barred American suppliers from selling goods and service to it, citing national security.

Chinese vendors are trying to capture a greater share of software and services as hardware sales slow, said Will Wong, a smartphone analyst with IDC.

“App store, pre-loading apps, advertisements and gaming are areas that could generate new revenue” he said.

Huawei is also moving away from Google by developing its own Harmony OS as an alternative.

The GDSA might be able to lure some app developers by providing more exposure than the already-crowded Play store, and the new platform could provide better monetary incentives.

“By making it simple for developers to increase their reach across multiple app stores, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi stand to attract more developers and, ultimately, more apps,” said Williams.