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Different by Design, How Huawei’s AppGallery is Working With Fintech

Huawei AppGallery is an application distribution marketplace, more commonly known as an app store. Initially launched in China in 2011 before launching globally 3 years ago in 2018, it is now available in 170 countries and regions worldwide. Acting as an alternative to Google Play and the Apple App Store, it is the third-largest app marketplace in the world, with over 540 million monthly active users.

The original vision of the AppGallery was to bring a seamless and connected life to consumers. With the huge boom in digital transformation over the past few years, as well as the increase in smartphone uptake and the subsequent increase in mobile app functionality (particularly in fintech), mobile phones and apps have become crucial to people’s daily lives.

“Your mobile phone is the centre of your universe,” said Siri Borsum, Global VP Finance Vertical Eco-development & Partnerships at Huawei Consumer Business Group. “If your devices don’t work together seamlessly then it’s a hassle, and it doesn’t connect you to technology in a good way. We believe that technology should help you in your life and make it easier.”

A major draw of the Huawei AppGallery is the growing emphasis on financial health and the aims of increasing financial inclusion. The accelerating expansion of the global smartphone market, coupled with consumers’ growing desire to manage their lives online, is creating a rising demand for banking and fintech apps. Not only are these popular for their ease of use, but they also bring services to people who would have been traditionally excluded from them, due to being underbanked and underserved. Over the last year, Huawei has added a number of innovative new partners to the platform including Curve, Monese, Starling Bank and sync – rapidly increasing the number of services available to customers to improve their financial health.

Borsum said: “As an industry, we have a battle that we need to fight together, and that is achieving financial health. Our vision is to bring digital financial health to every person, to every home and every organisation through partnerships. We need to do it together however, there’s no way Huawei can do it on their own.”

What’s in it for fintechs?

 Unlike other app marketplaces, Huawei AppGallery is more focused on consumers browsing the apps available, rather than just searching for what they want. This isn’t limited to challengers or smaller organisations either – Huawei AppGallery aspires to have every service available, including mainstream organisations (like high street banks), in order to provide the most choice as possible.

Borsum said: “Our role is to make sure that consumers discover all the options available to them. We want to make sure we have a big offering with a difference, so that people can discover apps that are maybe better than the ones they’re using.”

The marketplace does this in a number of ways, generally in its design which emphasises suggestion and discovery, highlighting popular games and apps for the region the store is being browsed in. Certain aspects of its functionality has taken inspiration from Huawei’s experiences within the Chinese market, where the company draws its roots.

Michael Lowers, Global Director, Finance Vertical Eco-development & Partnerships at Huawei Consumer Business Group, said: “We have a number of different lucky draws we do, which is a unique way to get people interested in searching and understanding the different apps that are available. There are lots of innovative ways within the AppGallery to support consumers to make sure that they’re not just going down a narrow path, and are able to see the broader selection we have.”

Enticing Developers

The Huawei AppGallery is also particularly enticing for its growing 2.7 million developers due to an emphasis on support. They have local support teams available on the ground in each of their markets,  and also hold online events offering help, training and knowledge so they have the latest information on any new developments.

One feature that demonstrates AppGallery’s commitment is their ‘Kits’. Available through AppGallery Connect, ‘Kits’ can be integrated with apps to help with building and running certain capabilities. Some examples of these include simpler functions, such as enabling push notifications, all the way to more advanced features such as the Wallet Kit, enabling users to store different tickets, passes, gift cards and coupons etc, or the Scan Kit, which allows developers to integrate QR code payments.

This emphasis on developers is of real importance to the AppGallery, and comes from a desire to create a competitive industry that drives innovation, improving user experiences and making sure no-one gets left behind. “You can hire as many smart people as you like,” said Borsum, “but you’ll never be able to cover everything. Developers love to contribute, it’s their passion, and that’s really how we’re going to move the industry forward.”

A partnered approach

As well as helping developers to create the apps in the first place, Huawei AppGallery also emphasises partnerships with these companies and helps them grow as a business rather than just focusing on the apps.

“It’s not just about working with these companies and inviting them to join AppGallery, what we’re actually looking to do is help them grow as a business,” said Lowers. “We’ll work with them on a marketing and PR plan, how they can advertise and drive new customers to their app and look for different ways we can help them develop.”

Partnerships are particularly important to Huawei, and helping others is a key part of what they do, and how they grow as a company. “It’s not us against them or them against us, it’s a job that we need to do together. We want to be a partner with everyone that wants to partner with us, rather than go for a winner takes all approach.”

Author

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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