China accelerates R&D in operating systems; Huawei leading contender

As China ramps up efforts to develop its homegrown operating systems (OS) for a wide range of digital gadgets, Huawei's OpenEuler OS is becoming the first choice for digital transformation, creating a solid software base for the country's digital infrastructure. During an OS industry summit last week, Wang Tao, Executive Director of Huawei and Director of the company's ICT Infrastructure Business Management Committee, said that by the end of December 2022, the number of enterprise members in the open source Euler community has exceeded 600. The cumulative number of installed OS software has reached three million in industries across finance, transportation and telecom. In the new market of server OS in China, Euler's market share has reached 25%. OpenEuler is designed for enterprise customers and can be used in servers, cloud computing and edge computing. Last year, Huawei launched the OS and donated it to the OpenAtom Foundation, a major open source platform in China.

Sun Wenlong, Secretary General of the OpenAtom Foundation, said during the summit that the foundation will help open source projects such as Euler to generate greater value by synchronously advancing local development and overseas expansion strategies, and exploring the establishment of overseas institutions in Europe, Southeast Asia and other regions. “China is entering a new stage of open source innovation, from participation and integration to making preparations for leadership,” said Wang Huaimin, Fellow at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). “The rising open source industry needs a powerful open source innovation platform, and it is necessary to build a distributed, intelligent and international next-generation open source innovation platform for the future,” Wang said in a keynote speech. Within the domestic OS sector, open source has become more mature after years of development, industry insiders said.

Jiang Dayong, Director of the OpenEuler Community, said that “our perception of open source has changed a lot. A few years ago, in China, we only used open source, but now we have gradually contributed to open source or even tried to lead the sector.” Recognition of the value of the open source business model has deepened, which is also a big change, Jiang said, although there is still a gap between China and overseas in terms of market recognition. Homegrown operating systems are considered key for driving construction of new infrastructure and boosting development of the digital economy, with China a leading player in the sector, the Global Times reports.

The China Daily adds that according to analysts, Huawei has succeeded in pulling itself out of a crisis by ensuring its revenue remained flat when it could have easily declined in 2022, suggesting that the impact of Washington’s restrictions on Huawei’s sales has started to wane as the company is finding new growth streams. Xu Zhijun, rotating Chairman of Huawei, said that the company’s revenue in 2022 was CNY636.9 billion, fractionally higher than the corresponding 2021 figure, yet marking a big turnaround from the nearly 30% year-on-year sales tumble in 2021 due to the U.S. sanctions. Xu said: “U.S. restrictions are now our new normal, and we’re back to business as usual.” He did not divulge Huawei’s profit figures.