*Updated February 7th 2020, (3:52 GMT+8): Xiaomi reached out to us to give the following statement regarding their involvement in the Global Developer Service Alliance (GDSA):
“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.”
While I understand that the base concept of the GDSA is to facilitate uploading apps to their respective apps stores, it still doesn’t change the fact that this could potentially be a game changer in the app market ecosystem as a whole.
According to a recent Reuters report, Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo are now working together on a platform which would allow developers outside of China to upload apps to all the respective app stores simultaneously. These manufacturers have reportedly teamed up and they’ve got a fancy name for it too; the Global Developer Service Alliance (GDSA).
This platform looks to be an attempt to overthrow the Google Play Store from the throne and challenge it’s dominance internationally. Personally, I feel like this is a good thing. It would make the apps in the app stores of various Chinese smartphone giants accessible and uniform.
Considering that Google’s Play Store is banned in China, users are used to downloading apps from a variety of app stores. Many of these said app stores are managed and maintained by the manufacturers like Huawei and Oppo. But if you were out of China, you’ll know that the Play Store is the place to go. But because of that dominance, third party app-stores have struggled with developer support worldwide. That’s the issue the GDSA platform aims take advantage of.
The GDSA prototype website showcases the services are planned for nine countries and regions which include Malaysia, India, Indonesia, and Russia, among others. Reuters mentions that some of the companies are strong in different regions, such as Xiaomi in India and Huawei in Europe. Vivo, Oppo and Xiaomi also have a substantial following in Malaysia, so it makes sense the prototype is landing here.
Together however, these companies control over 40% of worldwide smartphone shipments since the fourth quarter of last year. So that’s a lot of smartphone users, with different app stores. This initiative would at the very least make for an easier experience for developers to upload their apps at once and have it reach multiple avenues for users to download.
This probably has to do with Huawei not having access to Google Mobile Services and the Google Play Store, because the move isn’t that surprising when you consider what Huawei is going through. Why would they wait on Google when they’ve been adamantly developing their own OS (HarmonyOS) and ecosystem. But let’s see how it goes. I very much doubt they’ll be to totally replace what the Google Play Store is at this point, but a challenge to them just might be what they need to start taking things seriously and innovate on the Play Store.