China unveils indigenous desktop OS to reduce foreign dependence

Jingyue Hsiao, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: AFP

As China and the US are trying to de-risk themselves from each other, China gears up the development of its indigenous operating system by unveiling openKylin 1.0.

According to Xinhua and STDaily, at the Conference on the Operating System Industry 2023 held in Beijing on July 6, China released its homegrown open-source desktop operating system openKylin 1.0, which is based on Linux and contributed by 4,038 contributors. The OS has an app store that provides about 1,000 third-party software, including WPS Office, WeChat, and QQ.

openKylin was developed by Kylinsoft, a software company formed in 2020 by merging two software companies under China Electronics Corporation, China's major electronic information enterprise group. Xinhua quoted an executive of the company saying that Kylinsoft would continue to expand cooperation to attract global partners to join the ecosystem.

The reports quoted Research on China's Fundamental Software Industry saying that the OS market in China was CNY15.51 billion (US$2.1 billion).

Kylin operating systems, including openKylin, are used in mobile and PC environments in China, including governments, financial institutions, and critical infrastructure, such as utilities, traffic, medical, and educational organizations. AFP reported that China has been using previous versions of openKylin for critical computers, such as its space programs.

China has been looking to reduce its reliance on foreign technologies. AFP reported that Microsoft launched a Windows version specifically for the Chinese government in 2017, and Huawei unveiled its HarmonyOS after it was under sanctions by the US.

US-developed OSes accounted for a majority of China. According to Statcounter, Android was the largest OS in China, accounting for 53.95% of the market in June, with Windows grabbing 25.45% for the same period. For desktops, Windows constitutes a whopping 80% of China's OS market.

Source: Statcounter, July 2023

Source: Statcounter, July 2023