HTC is working on a mobile operating system for the Chinese market that offers deep hooks into regional services like Weibo, reports the Wall Street Journal. While it’s unclear whether the OS will be built from scratch or, more likely, on top of the open source Android OS, the company reportedly plans to launch the new software before the end of the year.
The rumor reflects the growing importance of China at HTC and within the mobile industry more broadly. According to the WSJ, the company’s Chinese market share grew from 2.6 percent in Q1 of this year to 6 percent in Q2, a massive increase. Likewise, the world’s top PC maker, Lenovo, is now selling more mobile devices than computers, largely on the back of its massive smartphone growth in China. Likewise, Apple has been focused on the growth opportunities presented by China for some time, with the market figuring heavily into its decision to offer a low-cost iPhone, according to several reports.
HTC is predicting its first ever loss
HTC’s profits have plummeted over the past two years and the company is now predicting its first loss in history as it continues to lose marketshare to Samsung. Much of the blame for the company’s misfortune has been pinned on CEO Peter Chou, whom insiders claim lacks a clear vision.
Manufacturers are willing to pin their hopes on local services
Investing in a brand new operating system would certainly differentiate HTC’s products, but with so many other would-be competitors to Android and iOS already on the market, it’s unlikely that the company could make a dent on its own. But as we’re seeing with the HTC First and Facebook Home, KakaoHome in Korea, and a rumored Line phone in Japan, manufacturers are willing to pin their hopes on local services in order to give customers something, anything, that stands out on store shelves.