HTC building its own mobile OS for the Chinese market

Yet another mobile OS may emerge by the end of the year, but this one is just for China, according to a report.

Taiwanese handset maker HTC is expected to release its own mobile operating system for the Chinese market by the end of the year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The OS is part of HTC's effort to tap the growing demand for smartphones in China as the firm's Android sales elsewhere have failed to take flight in the face of Samsung's dominance of the platform .

It's not clear whether the OS is based on Android or another platform, but according to the WSJ, the software would offer deep integration with Chinese microblog service Weibo, helping to build its appeal among Chinese consumers. 

As noted by the newspaper, although the Taiwanese company has many Chinese-speaking staff, it's still a relative newcomer to the country, and a smaller player than several local vendors vying for a slice of the growing market.

Smartphone sales within China have doubled year on year , with the country accounting for around a third of worldwide shipments with 238.1 million units sold for the second quarter of this year.

Samsung leads in China with a 19.4 percent share of the smartphone market, according to Strategy Analytics data, while Chinese handset makers Lenovo, Coolpad and ZTE each have between 9.7 percent to 12.3 percent. Huawei holds 9.6 percent, and Apple had 3.4 percent.

According to the WSJ, HTC insiders see the OS project as an attempt to build closer political and business ties in China. The move also follows a report by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology claiming that China was "too dependent" on Android, suggesting there could be an appetite for something more local.

But HTC would not be the first to attempt a Chinese built OS. Fellow Taiwanese company Acer ran into trouble with Google after building Aliyun, an incompatible Android fork , for Chinese internet company Alibaba. Acer pulled the plug after Google threatened to end its partnership with it.

HTC's OS would emerge alongside several alternatives this year, including Ubuntu Touch, Firefox OS, Samsung favoured Tizen, and Finnish startup Jolla's Sailfish OS.