Huawei, Huawei operating system, HarmonyOS, Chinese telecom, Chinese electronics

The launch took place at the Huawei Developer Conference in China’s Dongguan.

Huawei on Friday unveiled its operating system, HarmonyOS, which the Chinese telecom and electronics gear maker described as a microkernel-based distributed operating system that can be used across a range of devices and platforms. It, however, will continue to use Google’s Android OS for its smartphones and will roll out the proprietary product for devi-ces like smart watches, smart screens and smart speakers.

Chief executive of Huawei’s consumer business group, Richard Yu, said, “We needed an OS that supports all scenarios, that can be used across a broad range of devices and platforms and that can meet consumer de-mand for low latency and strong security.” The launch took place at the Huawei Developer Conference in China’s Dongguan.

The development is seen by analysts as an attempt by the company to reduce dependence on US technologies and products. The launch brightens up Huawei’s plans for expanding in India with its youth-centric brand, Honor India being one of the first to roll out products sporting HarmonyOS. The first to hit stores is Honor Smart Screen, a 55-inch smart TV. It is also the first device that comes loaded with the new OS.

Industry sources said Honor India is expected to launch the smart TV on Saturday, which is among the first launches globally.

“India is Honor’s second largest market after China and the company in last few years has been aggressively marketing its products and expanding its portfolio. It has a target to control 10% market share in India by 2020 and launching new products targeting youth is one of the strategies the firm is deploying to increase this share,” said one of the sources.

Handset makers in India are expanding their portfolio to build up market share with many eyeing smart TVs. Chinese company Xiaomi came out with its Mi TV 4 series last year for India. Then OnePlus announced its smart TV plans late last year, while Redmi recently made public its plans for smart TV. Honor will be the next in this line.

Another industry source explained that during April-June, the US trade restrictions on Huawei did impact its India shipments, but Honor is still among the top 10 smartphone brands. “In fact, the company has plans for using the new OS on handsets in the future with Honor brand phones likely to be the first recipients. India will be among the top markets for such launches,” he added.

Honor’s strategy of launching products targeting youth and having a broad portfolio of products is bearing fruit. Counterpoint Research data shows that during January-March 2019, the Rs 15,000-20,000 range was the fastest growing price segment in the online market driven by Xiaomi and Huawei. Honor 10 Lite was among the best performing model in this band.

A top executive with a leading electronics manufacturing services (EMS) company said that at present it makes a lot of sense to hedge one’s bet on having some manufacturing presence in India.

According to a June 2019 report by Counterpoint Research, “The escalating China-US trade war is pushing Chinese manufacturers to relocate some of the production to countries outside China. India can present itself as a good alternative to the supply chain and component players. Not only does it offer huge local demand, but it can also serve as an export hub for other regions”.