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Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo teaming up to take on Google Play

China’s Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo are teaming up to create a developers platform outside China to upload apps onto all of their app stores simultaneously.

This is a move analysts say is meant to challenge the dominance of Google’s Play store.

The four companies are ironing out kinks in what is known as the Global Developer Service Alliance (GDSA). The platform aims to make it easier for developers of games, music, movies and other apps to market their apps in overseas markets, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The GDSA was initially aiming to launch next month, although it is not clear how that will be affected by the coronavirus outbreak. A prototype website says the platform will initially cover nine “regions”, including India, Indonesia and Russia.

A Xiaomi spokesman denied Huawei’s involvement and said the GDSA “solely serves to facilitate the uploading of apps by developers to the respective app stores of Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo simultaneously. There’s no competing interest between this service and the Google Play store”.

Google, whose services are currently banned in China, earned about US$8.8 billion (S$12.2 billion) globally from the Play store last year, said Sensor Tower analyst Katie Williams.

Together, the four companies made up 40.1 per cent of global handset shipments in the fourth quarter of last year, said consultancy IDC.

While Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi have full access to Google services in international markets, Huawei lost access for new devices last year after the United States barred American suppliers from selling goods and services to the company, citing national security.

Huawei is also moving away from Google by developing its own Harmony OS as an alternative.

The GDSA’s website includes the logo of Wanka Online, a Hong Kong-listed Android “ecosystem” platform next to a contact for the GDSA’s general secretariat. Wanka Online declined to confirm its involvement.

The GDSA might be able to lure some app developers by providing more exposure than the already crowded Play store, and the new platform could provide better monetary incentives, analysts said.

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