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HUAWEI could pre-load phones in India with this new app store

The company is reportedly close to inking a deal.

Published onMarch 3, 2020

HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro HUAWEI Logo

Huawei’s US troubles have not eased up at all and the company is still unable to load up its phones with Google Mobile Services, including things like the Play Store. But we’re sure you already knew that.

We now hear that the Chinese firm is in talks with an India-based company for a curated Android app store.

According to The Economic Times (ET), HUAWEI will soon ink a deal with OSLabs — the makers of Indus OS — to offer the Indus App Bazaar on its phones.

Indus OS is a multilingual Android fork developed for regional language users in India. You may remember it from a previous partnership with Samsung, which allowed its Indian smartphone users to browse apps from the Galaxy Store in their native language.

Read: HUAWEI in 2020 — So many questions

As of November 2019, the Indus App Bazaar has over 400,000 applications on its platform in 12 Indian regional languages.

“The move is to address the Google app store challenge in India. The move will help HUAWEI to again revive sales of its devices both the brands [HUAWEI and HONOR] in India (sic),” a person familiar with the matter told ET.

Huawei’s tie-up with the Indus App Bazaar will reportedly start in India, but there are talks to extend the partnership globally.

“The partnership is starting with India and would be taken to other countries. The current issue of coronavirus has delayed global partnership related talks. Since the Indian team is based locally, it was easier to close the deal here,” a second source told the publication.

Why use Indus App Bazaar instead?

Pre-loading a different app store makes all the sense in the world for HUAWEI since it currently can’t take advantage of the Google Play Store. But why not rely on its own AppGallery? After all, the company did make a huge fuss about it during the recent global launch of the HONOR 9X Pro.

The first phone in the HUAWEI P40 series is here

We do know that HUAWEI has been in talks with a number of Indian developers to create apps for HMS, its own mobile ecosystem. Why then partner with Indus OS?

It’s possible HUAWEI is taking this approach in India to strengthen its connection with regional language users and to deliver market-share growth in the Indian market. It’s also possible the company does not have enough India-centric apps to offer through its own AppGallery right now.

HUAWEI has not yet commented on this development. We’ve also reached out to folks over at Indus OS but they too have nothing to announce right now.

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