Huawei and Xiaomi team up for app development: what’s next

Huawei, Xiaomi, and other Chinese manufacturers are working on an alternative to the Google Play Store. Here's how it will work and when it will be available

It's called the Global Developer Service Alliance (GDSA), Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo are participating, and it has all the appearance of a Chinese holy alliance against the overpowering Google and its Play Store. It was supposed to be born in March, but the Coronavirus emergency has postponed it to a date still unknown. But what is it about?

A sort of "super app store" available in nine countries of the world including China, India, Indonesia and Russia that will make life easier for developers.

It will be a platform from which it will be possible to access to the apps published on the stores of the single producers participating in the GDSA, through a unique interface. Google, whose services (including the Play Store) are banned in China, earned about $8.8 billion globally from revenues from the Play Store in 2019 (movies, books and apps), on which it charges a 30% commission. Moving many apps from the Play Store to the GDSA platform, then, could seriously eat into the Mountain View giant's revenue.

Four mobile giants

Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo together sell 40% of all smartphones in the world. Huawei, as it is known, was hit in May 2019 by Donald Trump's famous ban and can no longer use Google services even in international markets, while the other three companies still use them. Huawei, meanwhile, is developing its Harmony OS mobile operating system to have an alternative ready in case US-China relations deteriorate. It's clear, then, that the Chinese electronics giants are making a series of moves to put pressure on Google and, in the worst case scenario, to make themselves independent as soon as possible.

How the GDSA works

It's still unclear what percentage of the commission developers will have to pay to publish their apps on the new platform, but it's reasonable to think that at least at the beginning it will be quite a bit lower than the one retained by Google on the Play Store. Compared to Google's store, then, the Chinese one will be much less crowded and will allow developers to get better exposure. At least in theory, GDSA's model should benefit all participants: for example, Xiaomi is very strong in India, Vivo and Oppo in Southeast Asia, and Huawei in Europe, but in each of these markets the user will find all the apps in one place by logging into the platform.

Xiaomi: nessuna competizione con Google

Arriva il messaggio ufficiale da parte di Xiaomi:

La Global Developer Service Alliance serve esclusivamente a facilitare l’upload delle applicazioni da parte degli sviluppatori nei rispettivi app store di Xiaomi, OPPO e Vivo. Non vi è alcun intento competitivo tra questo servizio e Google Play Store"