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Banished by the United States, Huawei wants to seduce European developers at all costs

Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant proscribed by Washington, came into force at the European tech summit this week in Lisbon to attract developers of applications that can feed its own platforms and stand up to its US competitors.

Huawei's CEO, Guo Ping, was honored by speaking at the opening session of Monday's edition of the Web Summit, where the Shenzhen-based company's booth dominates the exhibition pavilions.

Turning quickly to concrete things, his teams detailed his offers during a workshop addressed to some 300 designers of applications for smartphones that lasted an entire afternoon and ended with a dinner offered in stride.

“We want to prevent developers from feeling left out or seeing barriers to our development program too high,” said Jervis Su, Huawei vice president of mobile services.

“Applications and software are driving real value” on the Internet, Guo Ping said after praising the possibilities of 5G, the latest mobile technology Huawei is the world leader in equipment.

“The developers take the lion's share of the profits” generated by this market, he continued before an audience of entrepreneurs, most of whom offer their services via an application for smartphones.

– “De-Americanize” the products –

Mr. Ping then recalled the recent announcement of a $ 1.5 billion investment in five years in innovative technology training programs for universities, research institutes or startups around the world. Another $ 1 billion envelope “aims to motivate developers to innovate” by funding the development or launch of their applications.

Chairman of Huawei's Executive Board, Guo Ping, in Monaco on July 9, 2019 (AFP / Archives – VALERY HACHE)

These two commitments were made earlier this year, marked by the Trump administration's ban on US companies selling technology to the Chinese group.

Huawei strongly denies the potential espionage charges for Beijing, but has since strongly accelerated the “de-Americanization” of its products.

If his phones can still use the Android operating system, developed under free license by Google, the availability of services of the US giant (including Gmail, Maps or Youtube) is only the suspension granted by Washington.

The Chinese group is therefore trying to promote its own collection of services from developers, which now has 50,000 applications, including its store named App Gallery, used for 11 years in China and launched in Europe last year.

“We were first approached by Huawei to make our application available in the App Gallery,” said AFP Adnan Selimovic, technical director of a traders services company.

– Lower commissions on games –

“They then asked us to deepen our collaboration by integrating new features, such as notifications, and then helped us to create interactive” + widgets + “details the developer from Austria who, thanks to this partnership, was able to pass a team of developers dedicated to the Huawei ecosystem.

To offer more games on its platform, Huawei is also willing to lower its commission on player purchases by 15% for the next two years, while Google or Apple takes up 30% of developer revenue.

“Huawei is trying to get out of the vice in which he is caught in. To succeed in Europe, he will try to attract the maximum of developers because he has no other choice,” says AFP François Candelon, analyst at the Boston Consulting Group.

Huawei also wants to prepare developers for a possible transition to its home operating system (OS) named HarmonyOS (AFP - PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA)

Huawei also wants to prepare developers for a possible transition to its home operating system (OS) named HarmonyOS (AFP – PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA)

By developing its own tools and teaching application designers how to use them, Huawei is also preparing them for a possible transition to its home operating system (OS) named HarmonyOS, introduced in August as a “Plan B” to replace this. times Android.

In September, the red flower brand was also ready to invest in a hypothetical Sino-European OS project. “This would solve the problem of European numerical dependence,” said then-Executive Director Eric Xu.

“Huawei will only be able to get out of Europe if it appears to be much more European in its objective, that is to say if it is committed to making Europe a digital power in the decade that come, “say François Candelon.

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