Even the Chinese fight: what’s happening on Huawei AppGallery

Tencent's apps, including the world-famous PUBG Mobile game, suddenly disappear from Huawei's app store only to return a few hours later. Here's why.

A little, but not so much, Chinese drama unfolded on AppGalley, Huawei's proprietary app store, around New Year's Eve. The protagonist of this drama, in addition to Huawei itself, was the other Chinese giant: Tencent. The reason of the dispute? Money: the percentage retained by Huawei on the purchases of the countless Tencent's apps on AppGallery.

Apps that, for about 24 hours, disappeared from Huawei's store only to reappear after a new commercial agreement between the two chinese companies. It would seem that this story is all Chinese, but in reality it is not, given the similar precedents seen in the West and given the size (global) of Huawei and Tencent. The first has long been the first Chinese smartphone manufacturer for global sales, until 2019, it was the second manufacturer in the world after Samsung and is still the leader on the Chinese domestic market with a share of over 40% of sales. Tencent, on the other hand, is a global tech giant and, among its apps, there are famous games such as PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Mobile.

Why Tencent's apps disappeared from AppGallery

According to Reuters' reconstruction, Huawei and Tencent had an agreement expiring at the end of 2020: 50% of the revenue made by Tencent on AppGallery went into Huawei's pocket. But the negotiation went on a bit too long and the two companies didn't reach an agreement by December 31, which is why Tencent's apps were temporarily removed from Huawei's store.

By January 1, 2021, however, the apps were back in stock, a sign that the two companies have formed a new partnership. However, it's not known what percentage they've agreed on, with Tencent stating only that "both parties will continue to work together to bring better experiences and services to consumers."

Epic Games' precedent

While in China Tencent fought with Huawei for 50%, in America Epic Games took Apple and Google to court for much less: both companies, in fact, withhold 30% of the revenue made from apps downloaded by users through the App Store and Play Store, and removed in mid-August the highly successful video game Fortnite because Epic Games had tried not to pay.

Epic Games, which makes its money through in-app purchases of virtual currency V-Bucks to spend within Fortnite, had included an option in the video game to buy V-Bucks at a 20% discount without going through the App Store or Play Store. Apple and Google didn't take it well and, indeed, deleted Fortnite from their respective stores.