MTN App of the Year

From Google Play to Huawei, what platforms lead the African app way?

For the MTN App of the Year Awards entrants, there are two platforms that stand out as being the most accessible and cost-effective – Google Play and the Huawei App Gallery.

While many of the developers did put their apps onto the Apple Store, it didn’t rate highly in estimations due to its red tape, and expensive barrier to entry.

The Huawei App Gallery

The Huawei App Gallery – a solution that was forced on Huawei thanks to the trade ban – has leapt from emergency stop gap to the third-largest app store in the world with a reported 400 million active monthly users. It’s joined the App Store and Google Play as the place for apps to go if they want to be seen, and downloaded.

With the exception of two developers using WhatsApp exclusively for their solutions, all the developers opted to use Google Play.

This trend is reflected in the platforms chosen by the developers. With the exception of two developers using WhatsApp exclusively for their solutions, all the developers opted to use Google Play.

The reasons for this were equally unanimous – easy to use, cheap, and accessible. Comments from developers included: “It’s easier to get into the Google Play store”, “Google Play is a once-off payment versus the annual charge for the App Store”, “It’s affordable and easier”, and “Google Play is user friendly and easy to navigate”.

These sentiments are echoed with regards to the Huawei App Gallery where developers felt that the process of getting their apps onto the store was relatively simple, the costs were fair, and the support was consistent. Several developers said that their apps did better on the Huawei App Gallery than on either Google Play or the App Store, many finding that their downloads increased on this platform. In addition, the analytics and local tech support team were highlighted as being big sell points for the platform

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The App Store

The App Store is the one that several developers cited as being on their wish list but on hold due to the costs. The App Store’s annual license is expensive for the South African market and some developers had taken their apps off the store as it wasn’t worth the expense versus the profit.

The App Store experience was also described as complicated and convoluted with limited support should things go wrong. Although, this lack of local support was also highlighted for Google Play. The App Store was described has having superb analytics and insights but its high costs, lack of local support and complex application process made it the last on the list for most developers.

Google Play

Overall, 95% of developers used Google Play, 85% used Huawei App Gallery, 65% used the App Store, and 10% used WhatsApp or the web. The dominant choices of Google Play and Huawei were down to cost, ease of use and support, and this is a trend likely to continue for most developers until they make enough money to afford the App Store’s fees.


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