Google Play Services? Huawei doesn't need them. Charles Peng, CEO of Huawei and Honor India, Consumer Business Group told the Economic Times Telecom "most of the key apps such as navigation, payments, gaming and messaging will be ready by December end" in India as part of a broader strategy to replace Google Mobile [sic] Services with its own suite of "Huawei Mobile Services."
Banned by Trump — Huawei's urgency to develop Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) comes after the Trump administration banned U.S. companies like Google from providing it with future versions of Android running with Google Play Services. The U.S. has cited unsubstantiated national security concerns as the reason for blacklisting Huawei. In China, the lack of Google's services on Huawei's phones doesn't cripple them since they're all banned there anyway. However, outside of China, not having Google services like Google Maps, YouTube, and Gmail, is a dealbreaker.
Focusing on the top 100-150 apps — Reducing its reliance on Google's services is the long-term goal, but getting developers on board is the biggest challenge. As a start, Huawei's targeting the top 100-150 apps in India by incentivizing Chinese and Indian developers with as much as $17,000 to port their apps to HMS.
"Consumers won't see a difference between GMS and HMS," Peng said. "We are focusing on how to work with developers to offer a good customer experience. It is a challenge that we are trying to address."
Not just Huawei — Huawei's under the spotlight and the world will be watching closely to see how quickly and effectively it can replace Google Play Services with its own. However, its ban by the U.S. also has other Chinese companies like Oppo on high alert, too. Oppo is reportedly also working on its own "intelligent service ecosystem" for its version of Android, ColorOS. Having watched as Huawei was caught off guard by the blacklisting, Chinese companies will no doubt be joining Huawei with their own homegrown service alternatives so they're not left scrambling if/when the U.S. blacklists them.