Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the world's third-largest mobile phone maker, is taking a major step toward commercializing blockchain technology with the release of a bitcoin wallet on its AppGallery.
Developed by BTC.com, a major web wallet for the cryptocurrency, the app will be pre-installed on all new Huawei smartphones from May 11, Bloomberg reported. It will be available to download on older handsets at a later date.
Bloomberg quoted Alejandro de la Torre, vice-president of BTC.com, as saying: "It's a good opportunity to tap into the Chinese market. The use of cashless payments with apps is very big and the traditional banking system is lacking, so there's a good use case for crypto payments to grow there."
Chinese investors currently have limited access to cryptocurrency wallets. Similar popular apps such as Breadwallet and Airbitz are not available on Chinese mobile app stores. China also banned initial coin offerings last year.
Despite the authorities' tightening control on cryptocurrency, enthusiasm for virtual currencies remains high.
"We expect to see massive growth in global cryptocurrency adoption habits in the near future," said Jaime Gonzalo, vice-president of Huawei's mobile services division in a statement.
"Huawei is a giant enterprise with a global vision and its decision is made upon the global market demand," said Sam Lee, founder and CEO of Blockchain Global Ltd, a multinational company focusing on funding blockchain technology.
"In the last year, bitcoin has been a red-hot asset in many countries and regions."
"Adding the bitcoin wallet app to its app store not only meets the demand from the market, but is also an important step in the company's strategy to develop blockchain technology," Lee said.
The bitcoin wallet app allows users to buy, store and transfer digital assets on their phone. In countries such as Japan where bitcoin payment is accepted in certain scenarios, users can simply scan QR codes via the app.
"Efficiency, reliability, cost and regulation are the four key factors that will decide if cryptocurrency has the competitive edge to replace traditional currency," said Li Lihui, former president of Bank of China, at in a recent seminar in Beijing.
"In daily use, I don't think cryptocurrency can replace existing popular mobile payment options such as WeChat wallet and Alipay," Li said.
"But in some centralized trading scenarios, the cryptocurrency can be used as an efficient tool."