Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo join forces to build a Google Play Alternative

The biggest phone makers in China are coming together for a very noble cause – they’re working on an alternative to the Google Play Store. And they’re creating this for developers outside China. They’re calling this the Global Developer Service Alliance (GDSA). These are big companies, and whatever they set out to do together is definitely going to have a huge impact.

As reported by The Reuters, this new announcement comes a couple of weeks after Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo came together for another alliance they called the “Peer-to-Peer Transmission Alliance” which is a Wireless File Transfer system that will be present on their devices going forward.

The new GDSA is apparently supposed to launch as soon as March, which is next month. However, with the Coronavirus outbreak, things may delay.

So why is this big news?

  1. Since forever, the major, and recommended way to get Android apps across the world has been through the pre-installed Google Play Store app. There are many other app stores, but they’ve either been solely owned – for example Samsung’s Galaxy Store or Vivo’s V-Store, or have lacked adequate financial support to scale – for example Aptoide .
  2. Many users outside China rely on Google Play Store, which means if a device doesn’t ship with Google Play Store, many people outside China would probably never think of getting one. Having an alternative to the Play Store means even if the device lacks Google Play Store, you’ll probably still use it well enough.
  3. As part of the American ban on Huawei, one of the major implications has been that Huawei’s new devices wouldn’t have Google Apps, including the Play Store. Which means none of their new devices would sell outside China. With this alliance, it seems Huawei may be finding an alternative that will allow them ship their devices comfortably.

Coming together therefore presents these Chinese companies a stronger chance to fight Google’s dominance in the Android Open Source space. Together they command up to 40% of smartphone sales, which means in a single go their Play Store alternative will automatically be available to millions of users winning it developer support which is key.

When the Huawei ban began to unravel, I wrote a post saying every other Android maker should feel threatened by Google’s decision to follow its countries politics and kick out one of Android’s biggest contributor to the open source project. It showed that any other company could in the future face the same fate as Huawei.

The recent alliances by Chinese phone makers are a testament that these companies are scared of the same fate befalling them. I am glad they’re doing something to stand against Google’s dominance, and I cannot wait to see how Google responds.

I hope these alliances don’t fail, and I am hoping to see other Chinese smartphone companies like Transsion join in. Exciting times ahead.

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