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Huawei reportedly wanted its own app store to compete with Google's – CNET

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Huawei may have been preparing to sidestep Google through its own app store.

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Huawei apparently sought out partners last year to fill up its app store.

The embattled Chinese phone maker tempted app makers with the prospect of getting a foothold in its home market, the most populous country in the world, if they would create software for its App Gallery, Bloomberg reported Monday.

Huawei reportedly told the app makers that they’d reach the massive China market, as well as 50 million Europeans who could end up using its app store rather than Google’s Play Store (which Huawei’s phones use to download apps outside China) by the end of last year.

It even offered the app makers a simple way to make the software they developed for Google’s Play Store compatible with the App Gallery, Bloomberg reported. The effort may have been part of Huawei’s expectation that the US would eventually clamp down on the company.

Huawei didn’t comment directly on the report but highlighted in an emailed statement its “substantial contributions” to the global growth of Google’s Android operating system.

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The danger of depending on Google was highlighted Sunday, when the search giant cut Huawei phones off from future Android updates — meaning Huawei customers outside China would lose access to apps like Play Store. Google’s decision followed an executive order from President Donald Trump last week that effectively banned Huawei in the US, including its ability to source goods and services from American companies.

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei may have alluded to its App Gallery plan Tuesday, in comments he reportedly made to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

“The US government’s actions at the moment underestimate our capabilities,” he said. 

First published at 5:03 a.m. PT.
Update, 6:39 a.m.: Adds more detail.

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