Huawei insisted the development of its Mobile Services unit represents an evolution not a reaction to external factors and disruption, as the company unveiled a £20 million investment plan at its first app developer conference in the UK.

The vendor, which was banned from accessing Google’s Android apps and services by the US, held numerous app developer conferences over the past year across Europe, as it looks to raise awareness and developer interest in its Mobile Services app store and Harmony OS.

Bringing the event to London, Andreas Zimmer, the Huawei Consumer Business Group executive covering European ecosystem and software strategy, said there had been an acceleration of its developer push to address the problem posed by the Android ban, with a significant amount of engineering resources being allocated.

However, he was adamant the company had been working on the platform for a long time.

“Our cross-device identification service was launched back in 2016. Our app store was launched in 2017, so that was way before any external influences or disruption happened. We are now continuing this journey, this development.”

Zimmer was responding to comments made on a panel at the event by Peter Hinssen, founder of nexxworks (a Huawei partner), who said “we probably wouldn’t be in this room if the geopolitics hadn’t escalated as it did last year”.

UK commitment
At the event, the company outlined a £20 million investment to support developers from the UK and Republic of Ireland looking to work with Huawei Mobile Services and join its App Gallery.

In addition, the company said it had, as of today (15 January), made 24 mobile SDKs available, giving developers the capability to integrate their apps into the Huawei ecosystem.

Anson Zhang, MD of the Consumer Business Group at Huawei UK (pictured) said the investment affirmed its commitment to UK and Irish developers.

Huawei said it was on course to become the third-largest mobile ecosystem globally, behind Google and Apple (see chart left, click to enlarge). It claimed to have 4 million users in the UK alone, and 600 million active users across 170 countries, which includes 68 million in Europe.

In total, it is working with 1.3 million developers.