Huawei building its own OS to break away from reliance on US software, said Ren Zhengfei

Chia-Han Lee, Taipei; Jack Wu, DIGITIMES Asia 1

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei. Credit: AFP

Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei previously stated that with the US expected to expand its sanctions, tough times are still ahead for Huawei. In response, it will focus on building a non-US alternative ecosystem by making its self-developed HarmonyOS and EulerOS available to more partners.

According to a report by the South China Morning Post, Ren Zhengfei made these remarks in July during an interview with Liu Yadong, the former editor-in-chief of China's Science and Technology Daily. Liu Yadong later published the interview on his personal WeChat blog.

Ever since the US Department of Commerce added Huawei and its hundreds of subsidiaries to the export Entity List in 2019, thus making it unable to access any US advanced technology support, Huawei has actively been developing its own software and hardware alternatives. This includes HarmonyOS, an operating system for the IoT sector, and EulerOS, a Linux-based operating system designed for corporate servers.

It is reported that there are now over 30 operating systems in China that originated from HarmonyOS. From smartphones and tablets to industrial equipment, the user base has exceeded 600 million. Furthermore, both HarmonyOS and EulerOS have partners involved, with many planning to transition to Huawei Cloud services, which helps further expand Huawei's ecosystem.

Ren Zhengfei emphasized that Huawei will continue to invest tens of thousands of personnel and billions of US$ annually in the development of these two major operating systems, despite both of them being open source.

Despite his complaints and grievances about the US sanctions, Ren also stressed that Huawei and even China should learn from the advanced culture of the US, especially in terms of supporting basic theoretical research and talent cultivation. He mentioned that the US has fertile ground for attracting talent, and China should cultivate its own.

These statements aligned with Ren's recent remarks during the Huawei-sponsored "International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC)" foundation forum, where he mentioned that internally, Huawei often studies why Apple products are well-made, the gap between the two companies. He views Apple as a mentor to actively learn from. Additionally, Huawei is committed to openness and embracing global talent. It's willing to collaborate with academia to cultivate outstanding talent in the IT sector.