Android apps on Windows 11 aren't dead, at least if you're in China

Microsoft Store Windows
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft and Tencent have partnered to bring Tencent apps and games to the Microsoft Store in China.
  • The partnership will make it easier to find and download Tencent mobile apps on PCs in China.
  • The news does not appear related to Microsoft's plans to end support for Windows Subsystem for Android.
  • Instead, Tencent appears to be using some other form of emulation.

Microsoft announced plans to end support for Windows Subsystem on Android (WSA) earlier this year. The subsystem will be deprecated on March 5, 2025, forcing those who use Android apps to look for alternatives on Windows. Users in China will have another option, thanks to a partnership between Tencent and Microsoft.

The partnership between the two tech giants sees Tencent apps become available through the Microsoft Store in China. That integration should make it easier to find and install Tencent apps. Microsoft highlighted in its news post, which was translated using Edge's built-in translation feature, that Tencent has "one of the leading mobile app distribution platforms in China." Microsoft and Tencent working together will place that app distribution platform in front of millions of PC users. 

Tencent expects to support over 1,500 mobile apps when it launches the integration with the Microsoft Store. The Tencent App Store will use both Intel Bridge and Celadon to allow apps to run on both x86 and Arm-based systems.

Microsoft's page was translated from Chinese (Simplified) to provide context, but there's a chance that some details have been, quite literally, lost in translation. But as far as I can tell, Microsoft is not keeping Windows Subsystem for Android around for users in China. Instead, the functionality relies on some other form of emulation.

While Microsoft has plans to kill Windows Subsystem for Android, it's not like the tech giant will block Android apps from running on Windows 11 through emulation. Apps like Bluestacks will continue to work. It seems safe to assume that Tencent is using non-WSA technology to run Android apps on Windows. The main news is that those apps, despite running through emulation, will appear in the Microsoft Store in China.

Android apps on Windows 11

Amazon Appstore on Windows 11

The Amazon Appstore lacked several key Android apps, greatly limiting the usefulness of Windows Subsystem for Android. (Image credit: Future)

When Microsoft announced plans to end support for Windows Subsystem for Android, many were surprised. While the news was shocking, an interesting trend occurred. Despite many complaining about WSA getting killed by Microsoft, few listed apps they'll miss when the feature stops working.

Microsoft never enacted a full vision of Android apps on Windows 11. The Amazon Appstore lacked big-name applications, forcing many to sideload Android apps onto Windows 11. A lack of Google Play Services support meant that even if you sideloaded certain apps onto your PC, they wouldn't work. It's possible to get Google Play Services and use the Google Play Store on Windows 11, at least for now, but it's not an official solution.

Even setting up WSA required jumping through a few hoops. The solution was interesting but never elegant. Add in advancements in web apps and more apps making their way to the Microsoft Store in one form or another, and WSA's niche became incredibly small.

While there aren't many must-have Android apps on Windows 11, games are another story. Plenty of mobile games are incredibly popular, so being able to play them on a PC is a nice option. Bluestacks continues to be available for Android gaming on Windows 11. Soon, users in China will have the option to find a play Tencent games through the Microsoft Store.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at

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    Note that Google Play Store is banned in China so all Android apps from China can run without Play Store installed, which makes it easier to support Android apps on Windows in China.