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Made-in-China mobile OS can help drive Chinese smartphone market

Jack Loo | May 25, 2012
But only a few will be good enough to challenge their Western peers: IDC

China's homegrown mobile operating systems (OS) can help bridge traditional mobile phone users to smartphone usage, according to research firm IDC.

In an IDC report titled 'Made In China: Mobile Operating Systems', research indicates that these OS are localising user environment and integrating services that Chinese consumers are used to.

This in turn helps drive more data usage, speed up the development of mobile technology, and thus help the China mobility market catch up with the rest of the world.

IDC foresees smartphone shipments in China to eclipse that of feature phones by 2013. For 2012, only eight million more feature phones will be shipped compared with smartphone shipments.

This is out of a total of more than 280 million feature phones and smartphone that was forecast to be shipped in 2012. Part of the accelerated smartphone growth is due to the push to deploy more 3G-enabled devices into the China market.

"The emergence of homegrown Chinese OS is also a manifestation of the market players' intense desire to build fences and drive stakes into the ground of the booming PRC smartphone market. Many of these developers are utilising homegrown OS as a platform to create additional revenue streams," said Ian Song, research manager of IDC's Asia/Pacific Client Devices Research.

In China's mobility market, Chinese consumers are more accustomed to the indigenous online services produced by local firms. As a result, Chinese homegrown OS integrate these services as their core competitive advantage over their Western peers.

However, it is likely that many of the homegrown OS players will be short-lived, leaving only a few market leaders to challenge the Western heavyweights in the China market, according to IDC.

"Although many locally developed Chinese mobile OS are thinly disguised attempts at increasing the vendors' bottom line, there are gems in this group that truly shine. These vendors know that having a great OS is half the battle," said Song.


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