HTC is developing a mobile operating system specifically for Chinese consumers, people familiar with the project told the Wall Street Journal. The project is being closely monitored by HTC's Chairwoman Cher Wang, who has been in discussions with Chinese government officials, according to the report. The software involves deep integration with Chinese apps like microblog Weibo and is slated to launch before the end of the year. HTC has been selling phones under its own brand in China since 2010, having sold there under the Dopod brand previously. HTC's China-specific software would play into a wider Chinese government policy to encourage the development of a unique local software ecosystem to reduce reliance on Western companies. China's technology ministry said in March in a white paper that the country's mobile industry is too dependent on Google's Android operating system, and it praised Chinese internet giants Alibaba and Baidu that have created their own systems.
It is unclear whether HTC's China operating system will be entirely proprietary or will build on top of Android. Smartphones running the operating system are now in testing, and some prototypes have been sent to Chinese officials, two of the paper's sources said.