Huawei engages local app developers

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Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has partnered with local app developers to promote South African content in Huawei AppGallery.

Huawei's mobile app store, the Huawei AppGallery, will soon feature a multitude of apps and designs by local developers, as the company continues its drive to promote South African digital talent and include more useful apps for Huawei smartphone users, says Huawei.

Huawei AppGallery and Huawei Themes are pre-installed on all the latest Huawei and Honor devices.

Earlier this year, Huawei told ITWeb it wants to be the number one smartphone provider in SA, if not by the end of 2019, then in 2020.

Samsung and Apple have seen increasingly stiff competition from domestic manufacturers in China, with companies like Huawei and Xiaomi making cheaper and more competitive products.

"South African consumers are increasingly wanting more apps that are relevant to their unique circumstances, addressing issues they experience regularly - such as load-shedding or safety concerns - but also apps that celebrate South Africa's multitude of cultures and this vibrant country," says Lu Geng, director of Huawei Consumer Cloud Service Southern Africa region.

"Huawei is committed to catering to the needs of South African consumers, but we also know that we do not have all the answers. For this reason, we aim to work closely with South African developers so that we can give our users everything that they need and want from their devices. At the same time, we also hope to create an open ecosystem for local developers by offering a simple and secure environment for them to upload content," says Akhram Mohamed, chief technology officer of Huawei Consumer Business Group SA.

Huawei Mobile Services was launched in SA in June last year. Since then, the company says both the Huawei AppGallery and Huawei Themes - which feature tens of thousands of creative themes, fonts and wallpapers that personalise a user's handset - have become increasingly popular with the local market.

It adds that even though it is a relatively new division of Huawei, there has been a great increase in growth; at the end of 2018, Huawei Mobile Services had 500 million users globally, representing a 117% increase on the previous year.

Explaining what differentiates the Huawei AppGallery from other app stores, Mosa Matshediso Hlobelo, business developer for consumer cloud service in Southern Africa, says: "We use the name 'Huawei AppGallery' because we have a dedicated team that curates all the apps in terms of relevance and ease of use and to ensure there are no technical issues. Importantly, all apps are also security-checked for malware and privacy leaks before being uploaded on to the Huawei AppGallery."

Huawei recently held a Developers' Day, where Huawei executives met with South African developers to discuss Huawei's offering.

Forty-eight developers registered their apps on the day, and Huawei is in discussions with them, with the eventual aim of featuring the best apps and designs on Huawei AppGallery or Huawei Themes.

The consumer cloud service Southern Africa team at Huawei plans to make Developers' Day a quarterly event and establish a local providers' hub, where developers can regularly meet with Huawei for training on updates to programmes and offerings.

"We have a very hands-on approach with our developers, and hope to expand that community so we can become an additional distribution channel for more developers and expose them to both a local and global audience," Geng says.

"For example, we regularly feature apps and designs from local developers on our Huawei social media pages, and do competitions and promotions. We want to do everything we can to make our Huawei users aware of these local apps and upload them. This will encourage the growth of the developer community in South Africa by giving developers more opportunities to generate revenue from in-app purchases," he concludes.

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