Here’s what South Africans are using Huawei’s Google-less App Store for in 2020


Following the now notorious trade war between the United States and Google, Huawei was forced to jump through a few hoops to keep their devices up to the standards we expect from Android technology. Since the removal of the Google Play Store, Huawei has implemented their very own solution, the Huawei App Gallery (which clearly didn’t cost much in the branding department). The big question was: would anyone actually use the thing?

Turns out they will, at least according to Huawei. We have a better understanding of how South Africans are using a wholly new app store. It might surprise you to find that that…well, we’re actually getting on just fine. And so, apparently, is Huawei.

Top 26 AppGallery apps by total downloads (Q1 2020)



Truecaller: Caller ID, spam blocking & call record

DStv Now

TikTok – Make Your Day


Showmax – Watch TV shows and movies

Mr D Food – delivery & takeaway

Standard Bank/Stanbic Bank




SwiftKey Keyboard



Load Shedding Notifier



InShot – Video Editor

VIU – TV Shows, Movies & more

Absa Banking App

Likee – Formerly LIKE Video

Takealot–SA’s #1 Online Mobile Shopping App



Moya Messenger #datafree


Deezer: play new music, live radio & any MP3 song

JOOX Music

My Vodacom

It’s worth noting that the data provided by Huawei doesn’t actually include any solid numbers in terms of the apps that were downloaded, just a list sorted by popularity. It won’t come as a surprise that the most heavily downloaded apps are local services and quality of life improvements. SHAREit, an app used to efficiently transfer data across platforms, was the most popular utility app, likely due to many new Huawei owners not being able to carry data over via their Google account.

After SHAREit, South Africans downloaded TrueCaller, to filter out all those annoying spam calls,, which is weird given that people aren’t exactly travelling these days, DStv Now and TikTok. So that’s a pretty standard top five most downloaded apps. Everything that follows includes banking apps, food delivery services and service provider apps. Interesting, WhatsApp didn’t occur in the top 20 most downloaded apps, but Moya Messenger did. Perhaps a change in the wind…

Top 26 AppGallery Games by total downloads (Q1 2020)


Lords Mobile

Nitro Nation Drag & Drift

Asphalt 9: Legends – Epic Arcade Car Racing Game

Word Search Puzzle

WWE Champions 2019


Real Gangster Crime


Stump Me- Can you pass it?

Asphalt 9: Legends – 2019’s Action Car Racing Game

Slots of Vegas



Moto Rider GO: Highway Traffic

Champions Manager Mobasaka

Zombie Frontier 3: Sniper FPS

Brain Games

Highschool Dangerous Lies: Teen Story – Love Game


Soccer 2019

Top Speed: Drag & Fast Racing

Vegas Crime Simulator – Real Mafia Gangster

Guns of Glory: Build an Epic Army for the Kingdom

Looney Tunes™ World of Mayhem – Action RPG



Candy Blast Storm

Words of Wonders: Crossword to Connect

Clash of Kings

Brick Game – Classic Tetris – Classic Blocks Puzzle

Trial Xtreme 4

As for games… well, South Africans have always had a thing for racing and…fantasy kingdoms, apparently. Lords Mobile, a role-playing MMO dominated the number one spot while Nitro Nation Drag & Drift and Asphalt 9: Legends took second and third respectively. After that, Word Search Puzzle and WWE Champions 2019 close out the top five places.

So all-in-all, it seems that those of us able to overlook the lack of a Google Play Store are faring just fine with Huawei’s App Gallery. While the lack of solid download numbers may cause speculation as to how many people are currently using that ecosystem, until we see some proper numbers it’s impossible to judge that metric. Still, it’s encouraging to see South Africans adapting to new circumstances, something that seems to be happening more and more these days.


About Author

I completed a Masters Degree just so someone might take my opinions seriously one day. Also writes about video games over at Critical Hit.


  1. Maemo Mavjaba on

    Hi Brad.
    I don’t think downloading of apps is a true reflection of South Africans wanting to use app alary.

    Huawei is making competition where you spin a wheel and can win about R250 000. The wheel select one thing and one thing only. Before you spin it, you have to download an app.

    If you are using Huawei then you will know about it. If not find one and try the completion you will see. Go to YouTube and check their channel the compatition is not a fair one.

    I love Huawei. I have been using their devices from way back starting with p6. Now I am using p20 lite. They make grade phones and I would love to get my hand on mate 30 pro.

    If Huawei is listening let the competition be fair. I have downloaded apps on the app gallery and will continue to support Huawei for more years to come.

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