Ken Hu Houkun (right), deputy chairman and rotating chairman of Huawei. Photo: Asia Times

Huawei has no timetable to launch its own operating system and will continue to use Google’s Android in its smartphones, a senior official from the company reiterated in Shanghai on Wednesday.

“We are a supporter of Android ecosystem. We will launch our own OS only if we can’t access Android,” Ken Hu Houkun, the deputy chairman and rotating chairman of Huawei, said at a press conference in Shanghai.

Hu said until now all Huawei smartphones sold in stock had the Android OS installed and will not be affected by the sanctions imposed by the United States in mid-May.

He said he could not provide more information about the development of Huawei’s smartphone OS and added there was no timetable to launch the system.

The Shenzhen-based telecommunication equipment maker has been in the global spotlight since it and its 70 affiliates were put onto the US Commerce Department’s Entity List on national security grounds last month.

On May 20, Google reportedly halted the transfer of hardware, software and technical services to Huawei. Two days later, Google said it would continue to work with Huawei for 90 days as the US Commerce Department granted Huawei a license to buy US goods until August 19.

Analysts said Huawei would have to reduce smartphone shipments due to a lack of chip supply and software support from US firms.

Hu gives a keynote speech at the Mobile World Congress 2019 in Shanghai. Photo: Asia Times

Richard Yu Chengdong, the chief executive of Huawei Consumer Business Group, said the company had a “Plan B,” which included its own chipset and operating system. Yu also said the system, known as Hongmeng, would be launched in the fall or early next year.

On May 24, Huawei registered a trademark for its self-developed Hongmeng OS with the National Intellectual Property Administration.

On Wednesday afternoon, Hu held a press briefing to talk about Huawei’s latest developments after giving a keynote speech at the annual Mobile World Congress in Shanghai in the morning.

Asked by Asia Times about the progress of Huawei’s Hongmeng OS, Hu declined to divulge any information, but said the company remained a supporter of the Android system.

Hu said over the past one-and-a-half months since being put on the Entity List by the US Commerce Department, Huawei had proactively taken a lot of measures to ensure all its suppliers have complied with the laws and regulations in the US.

“The US allegations against us are not based on facts. We don’t see substantial evidence to support these allegations. What’s happening is not fair to us,” Hu said.

Huawei has not seen a significant disruption to its supply chain as the company has found a way to source its chips from “alternate sources,” Hu said.

Chips sourced from alternate sources – which refer to non-American firms, particularly Japanese chipmakers – are performing the same as or even better than those Huawei were using, Hu said. “Some system indicators of these chips are even better than the old ones.”

Huawei’s 5G business has not been affected by the US sanctions at all, Hu said, adding that the company has already signed 50 commercial contracts on 5G projects and shipped 150,000 units of 5G base stations.

By the end of this year, Huawei’s 5G base station shipment will reach 500,000 units, he said.

The Mobile World Congress started on Wednesday and ends on Friday. This year’s main theme is 5G technology, echoing Beijing’s decision to issue 5G licenses to China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Broadcasting Network on June 6.

The Mobile World Congress 2019. Photo: Asia Times

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