The Huawei store's LED display advertising its Mate20 mobile phone in Jiangsu, China, in 2018. Photo: iStock

Huawei Technologies could use its self-developed Hongmeng operating system to replace the Android system in its smartphones within six months with the support of the huge domestic market in China, a Hong Kong information technology expert said on Wednesday.

Wong Kam-fai Photo: www.se.cuhk.edu.hk

“In a free economy, companies are usually reluctant to change and try new products. But in a controlled economy like China, if the government orders phone makers to use a particular local OS, such an OS can be well adapted by the markets within a period of short time,” Wong Kam-fai, Associate Dean (External Affairs), Faculty of Engineering, Chinese University of Hong Kong, told Asia Times.

As Hongmeng is an open platform that different developers can jointly participate in, its product adaptation time can be as short as half a year, Wong said.

The Shenzhen-based Huawei has been under the global spotlight since it and its 70 affiliates were put onto the US Commerce Department’s Entity List on national security grounds last week. On Monday, Google reportedly halted the transfer of hardware, software and technical services to Huawei.

On Tuesday, the US Commerce Department granted Huawei a license to buy US goods until August 19.  On Wednesday, Google said in a statement that it will continue to work with Huawei for 90 days.

Ren-Zhengfei Photo: CCTV

On Tuesday, Huawei founder and chief executive Ren Zhengfei said in a group interview with mainland media that it is redundant to grant a 90-day license to Huawei as the company has been ready to self-supply if it was not allowed to buy US hardware and software.

According to mainland media, Richard Yu Chengdong, the chief executive of Huawei Consumer Business Group, recently told friends on WeChat that Huawei has a “Plan B,” which includes its self-developed chipset and operating system.

Industry experts said Huawei’s chips refer to the Kirin series developed by HiSilicon, its subsidiary, while Huawei’s operating system refers to Hongmeng. The names of the two products are related to Chinese mythology as Kirin, or Qilin in Mandarin, is a one-horned beast, while Hongmeng is the situation before the world was created.

The development of Hongmeng has reportedly been led by Chen Haibo, a professor at the School of Software, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, since 2012. Built upon the Linux system, it operates with Huawei EROFS, a document system, and Fangzhou compiler, a code translator.

In a recent WeChat post, Yu said Huawei’s OS will be available later this Fall or early Spring. He said the OS will be compatible with all Android apps on phones, computers, tablets, TVs, cars, and wearables.

“Hongmeng will look and operate like Android so that users can adapt to it easily,” Wong said. “A good user experience is what Hongmeng must achieve as it will help improve its acceptability from users.”

In the short term, Huawei will inevitably be hurt if it has to switch from Android to Hongmeng, but it may benefit in the long run as the self-developed OS can help improve users’ loyalty in developing countries, especially along the Belt and Road, Wong said.

Google Play update

Huawei shipped 200 million units of smartphones last year, up 31% from 153 million units in 2017, according to a previous announcement. About half the Huawei smartphones were shipped overseas, mainly in Europe, East Asia and Latin America. It ranks as the No 1 smartphone seller in Russia. Globally, it is No 2 after Samsung and is followed by Apple.

Locally, Huawei smartphones use Android OS, but don’t support Google’s apps such as Google Chrome, Google Maps, YouTube or Gmail, as well as Facebook and WhatsApp, due to national security reasons.

Locals have substitutes such as Baidu Browsers, AutoNavi’s Gaode Maps and Tencent’s WeChat, but these apps are tailor-made for Chinese users.

Google apps on an Android phone Photo: iStock

Many overseas users are worried that they will not be able to use their Google apps on their Huawei smartphones from August 19, while they will find it difficult to use the Chinese substitutes in their places due to language and geographical barriers.

In fact, before Chinese firms can provide users with apps equivalent to Google’s, overseas Huawei smartphone users won’t be disconnected with Google as they can still use YouTube and Google Maps and Gmail through the Baidu Browser.

Francis Fong Po Kiu Photo: itvision.hk

Francis Fong Po-kiu, the honorary president of the Hong Kong Information Technology Federation, said it was unlikely that Hongmeng could replace Android in the short term as the latter supports thousands of popular mobile apps.

If users find they can’t use or update their favorite apps on Hongmeng smoothly, they will choose to use other smartphones, Fong told Metro Daily. “Such negative impact on Huawei can be disastrous,” he added.

Wong said there will definitely be short-term pain for Huawei, but also the US app providers. He believes that many US app developers will ultimately find some alternate ways to serve Huawei continuously as they don’t want to lose market shares, he said.

In the long run, these US app developers may move out of US if they want their products to be used on Huawei smartphones, Wong said. Besides, Chinese app developers will gradually catch up and provide better services to overseas users, he added.

Join the Conversation

45 Comments

  1. Awesome blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost
    on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like
    Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely
    overwhelmed .. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  2. I’ll right away clutch your rss feed as I can not to find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly let me recognize so that I may subscribe. Thanks.

  3. My programmer is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.
    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type
    on several websites for about a year and am anxious about switching to
    another platform. I have heard fantastic things
    about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress posts
    into it? Any kind of help would be really appreciated!

  4. A fascinating discussion is worth comment. I think that you ought to write more about
    this issue, it may not be a taboo subject but usually people don’t speak about such subjects.
    To the next! Many thanks!!

  5. What’s Happening i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this
    I’ve found It positively useful and it has helped me out loads.
    I’m hoping to give a contribution & aid other customers like its aided
    me. Good job.

  6. Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However
    I am encountering difficulties with your RSS. I don’t understand why I can’t
    subscribe to it. Is there anyone else having similar RSS problems?
    Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond?

    Thanks!!

  7. “of course like your website but you need to check the spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very troublesome to tell the truth nevertheless IвЂll surely come back again.”

  8. I am not sure where you are getting your information, but good topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more.
    Thanks for excellent info I was looking for this info for my
    mission.

  9. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without
    a doubt donate to this superb blog! I guess for now
    i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS
    feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates
    and will share this blog with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  10. Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme
    of this website. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s hard to
    get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and visual appeal.
    I must say that you’ve done a very good job with this.
    Also, the blog loads very quick for me on Safari.
    Exceptional Blog!

  11. Hmm it appears like your site ate my first comment
    (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had
    written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.

    I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to
    the whole thing. Do you have any suggestions for
    novice blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  12. Does your site have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to send you an e-mail.
    I’ve got some creative ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
    Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it grow over time.

  13. Good day! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group?
    There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.
    Please let me know. Thanks

  14. I got this site from my friend who shared with me on the topic of this web page and now
    this time I am browsing this web page and reading very informative
    posts at this time.

  15. Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after reading through some of the post I realized
    it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  16. OI tudo joia? adorei do seu artigo, bem curioso se pensamos da maneira como você relatou. É verdade que vinga uma hora em que temos que cortar as asas e desassistir. É custoso mas será agradável para a criatura que vai saber com seus desacertos e acertos. Um grande abraço amigo.

  17. Simply want to say your article is as amazing. The clarity in your post is simply excellent and i could assume you’re an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the gratifying work.

  18. Very good written article. It will be helpful to anyone who employess it, as well as yours truly :). Keep up the good work – i will definitely read more posts.

  19. A person necessarily assist to make seriously posts I’d state.
    That is the very first time I frequented your web page and so far?
    I amazed with the research you made to create this
    particular post incredible. Magnificent task!

  20. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my weblog thus i came to “return the favor”.I’m attempting to find things to enhance my website!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

  21. It’s actually a nice and helpful piece of information. I’m happy that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  22. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this superb blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will share this site with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  23. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.

  24. The betting procedures also vary among various poker games. You need to have some good suggestions to perform on line casino on-line neat and clean. The purpose was mistaken identification but was acquitted.

  25. That time he mixed himself with wrong gatherings and he used to dangle out with robbers and drug sellers. Poker is also a game of participant compared to participant, there is no house to beat.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *