On the first day of 2021, it was reported that people were not able to download the most popular mobile game of 2020—Honor of Kings—through the Huawei AppGallery. In fact, they were not able to download games by the company Tencent, due to a dispute over a promotional agreement.
Besides Honor of Kings, Arena of Valor was also temporarily removed from the Huawei AppGallery. Although Tencent has a minority stake in PUBG’s company Epic Games, it appears PUBG wasn’t removed.
Despite running on Android, Huawei offers AppGallery to allow users discover and download apps. In China, all devices don’t have official access to Google and smartphone makers offer their own respective App stores. For international markets, new Huawei devices are shipped without Google Play Store due to restrictions by the U.S. government.
“Tencent Games unilaterally made significant changes to the cooperation between the two parties… resulting in major obstacles to continued cooperation. After careful evaluation by our legal team, we had to comply with the relevant unilateral request from Tencent to halt cooperation and remove Tencent games from the Huawei AppGallery,” an official notice posted in Huawei’s gaming community said.
Additionally, the notice said that while Huawei “doesn’t agree” with Tencent’s changes, they “understand Tencent’s request”. Huawei also mentioned that they “admire the achievements and absolute market position of Tencent’s gaming business”.
According to Reuters, Huawei insisted on a 50% cut of Tencent’s game sales on its app store. While Tencent sells some of the most popular online games worldwide, Huawei has a 41.4% share of the China mobile phone market and a 14.9% share of the global market.
On the same day—after Tencent was “actively communicating and negotiating” with Huawei—Tencent published a notice saying the company has reached an agreement with the phone company. The games that were previously removed are now available again.
“Both sides will continue working together to bring customers even better experiences and services,” said Tencent.
While Tencent has reached an agreement with Huawei, a number of game developers have opposed Huawei’s revenue demands. They included Shanghai-based Mihoyo—which developed the game Genshin Impact, and Lilith Games—which developed the game Rise of Kingdoms.
In November 2020, Apple launched the App Store Small Business Program. It lets those who qualify pay a 15% commission—down from the usual 30 percent “Apple Tax”.