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Huawei Android ban could end up really hurting Google – here’s how

Some of the key, and increasingly influential, Chinese smartphone manufacturers have agreed to work together on an app store that could rival the Google Play Store.

According to a Reuters report Huawei, currently banned from including the Play Store on its latest Android phones, have joined forces with Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo on a new platform. Significantly, perhaps, OnePlus isn’t mentioned among the manufacturers entering into the agreement, but that may not be surprising given its popularity on western soil.

The logic behind the move is simple: If developers could upload all of their apps to a common platform, it could head off the threat to Chinese Android phone manufacturers posed by potential trade embargoes on dealing with US firms.

Related: Huawei Android ban – what you need to know

The four firms make up four in every ten smartphones shipped around the world so ousting the Google Play Store in favour of a homegrown alternative – that would offer developers access to a number of different manufacturers’ phones – could pose a threat to Google’s dominance on it own Android platform. It would certainly cut into the 30% cut Google skims from developers selling content through the Play Store.

Huawei is already building its own HarmonyOS and has said it’s done with the full-flat Google Mobile Services version of Android it is currently banned from accessing, even if the US drops sanctions. So it seems the Chinese manufacturers are now actively seeking ways to end their reliance on Google and perhaps end up better off for it.

The companies are currently “ironing out the kinks” of the new Global Developer Service Alliance (GDSA), which it plans to roll out in nine regions. It’s not clear whether the UK will be one of them, with the report only mentioning India, Indonesia and Russia.

According to the report, the GDSA was initially expected to roll out in March but could now be delayed because of the disruption caused by – you guessed it – the coronavirus. This is definitely one to keep an eye on even if it doesn’t directly affect UK consumers.

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