The Infonomist: Huawei recruiting an African army of developers
It is a game-changer. The Chinese firm is developing an army of global developers who will create apps and services for its new technology platform. This as the US government listed Huawei among firms US companies are banned from doing business with, forcing Google to suspend Huawei’s Android licence.
This means it is locked out of Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, and the Play Store. In response, the tech giant is rolling out key interventions to ensure its survival. Huawei is investing $1 billion (R14.8bn) globally to provide key support for app developers.
Some of these developers were recruited yesterday in Cape Town in case the tech giant is no longer able to use the Android operating system.
The recent announcement by Huawei is a critical weapon for it in dealing with the current US onslaught. It means the Chinese technology giant will have access to some of the best minds in the world to develop technology services for its products. What Huawei has done is to move beyond its current internal staff for the development of services for its products.
One of these interventions is called Shining Star Programme, which was launched yesterday in South Africa.
It aims to empower a whole new eco-system of apps, services and is set to encourage global developer innovation. Shining Star aims to cover skills training and development, infrastructure and marketing support for developers. These programmes are aimed at students, small and medium enterprises as well as corporates.
Huawei will conduct university student competitions that will incentivise computer science and technology students who can develop solutions for the Huawei eco-system.
Local small and medium enterprises will also have an opportunity to build local solutions that can be distributed via the Huawei ecosystem.
What makes this intervention unique is that it will enable participating developers to build not just for mobile phones. It will enable participating developers to build for tablets, speakers, glasses, watches, earbud devices as well as personal computers.
This is a huge opportunity for technology entrepreneurs and companies in Africa, who can also develop new companies and services of a similar size as Uber and similar services for new markets. Although other tech giants such as Google and Apple have developer programmes, none come close to the incentives and support services that are offered by Huawei.
Most technology giants allow their developers to develop for specific products. The Huawei development programme allows developers to build for a wider eco-system that goes beyond just mobile phones with ease.
For a very long time the technology eco-system has been dominated by Apple iOS and Google Android system. These eco-systems created billionaires by virtue of developing apps that are hosted on these two operating systems. The intervention by Huawei introduces a third system and platform.
As Huawei develops a new system, new technology unicorns (billion dollar valued tech start-ups) will also emerge. Based on this development, consumers of Huawei products will continue to have access to digital services even if Android system is no longer working on their Huawei devices. Local technology developers can join the Huawei army of developers and create the next big thing in the technology world.
Wesley Diphoko is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Infonomist. He also serves as the chairman of the IEEE Open Data Initiative. Follow him on Twitter via: @WesleyDiphoko