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Huawei, OPPO, vivo, Xiaomi join forces to challenge Play Store monopoly (Update)
Update: February 6, 2020 at 1:32 p.m. ET: A Xiaomi representative contacted Android Authority with a comment on the GDSA news. Apparently, Xiaomi’s goal with joining the group isn’t meant to create competition with Google — it’s simply meant to make developers’ lives easier when uploading to multiple app stores from other manufacturers.
Read the full comment below:
The Global Developer Service Alliance solely serves to facilitate the uploading of apps by developers to respective app stores of Xiaomi, OPPO and vivo simultaneously. There’s no competing interest between this service and Google Play Store.
Original article: February 6, 2020 at 7:42 a.m. ET: The US trade ban against HUAWEI means it’s unable to use the Google Play Store and other Google services on new devices. The Chinese brand is already spending money to bring third-party apps to its AppGallery, and it now looks like other heavyweight Chinese manufacturers are joining forces with it.
Reuters reports that Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi have teamed up to let foreign developers upload apps onto all of their app stores at the same time.
The initiative is reportedly dubbed the Global Developer Service Alliance (GDSA) and seems to be an indirect Play Store rival in some ways. The GDSA apparently aims to make it easy for developers to market their apps in foreign markets. In fact, an early website has already gone live showing developers how to sign up for an account and confirming that it covers nine markets.
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Nations specifically named on the website include India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, Spain, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam. However, the documentation shows that paid app support varies by OEM and nation (with Spain missing).
A new one-stop shop for developers?
“The Global Developer Service Alliance is committed to providing one-stop services including content distribution, development support, marketing operation, brand promotion and traffic monetization to global developers,” reads an excerpt of the website’s “About” section.
The alliance’s terms and conditions section also gives us more details on how the initiative will actually work:
The GDSA platform provides unified access to multiple mobile phone manufacturers’ stores. Developers can submit applications (including Android free-to-install applications, games, music, movies, books, magazines, or other digital content or services through the registration platform), which can be synchronized to multiple mobile phone manufacturers’ app stores that have already cooperated.
Furthermore, the section notes that developers can choose to use the advertising monetization SDK provided by the alliance, getting better or more promotion spots as a result.
Sources told Reuters that the initiative was due to launch in March, but it’s unclear whether the coronavirus threat will result in a delayed launch.
The alliance represents three out of the top five global players today, according to Canalys and Counterpoint Research (vivo is at number six). Nicole Peng, vice-president of mobility at Canalys, tells the newswire that the brands could leverage each company’s regional popularity. For example, developers publishing to Xiaomi’s app store in India would theoretically get published on other OEM app stores as well.
We’ve contacted Xiaomi, OPPO, and HUAWEI for more details regarding the story, but await OPPO’s response. HUAWEI and Xiaomi, however, refused to comment on the matter.