Speaking with French news site Le Point, Huawei CEO and founder, Ren Zhengfei, said Hong Meng is likely to be 60% faster than Android, citing a story from Chinese media about Chinese handset brands Oppo and Vivo testing the new OS.
Zhengfei admitted that the company currently lacked an alternative to the Google Play app store and Apple’s App Store, but that it is working on one.
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Huawei told potential partners last year that by the end of 2018 it planned to have 50 million Europeans using its own app store, according to documents seen by Bloomberg in May, shortly after the Department of Commerce added Huawei to its entities list, banning US firms from supplying tech to the company.
Besides its Android alternative, Huawei would still need to create popular alternatives to Google’s main mobile apps to appeal to users both in China and the rest of the world.
Until the ban is officially lifted by the Department of Commerce, Huawei doesn’t have much choice but to press ahead with the mysterious Hong Meng, which is reportedly based on Linux.
After Trump’s comments about lifting the ban at the G20 summit, Huawei said it would wait for guidance from the Department of Commerce.
Reports last month said Huawei was considering using a Russian fork of the Linux-based Sailfish OS from Finnish firm Jolla. Huawei first discussed its work on a ‘Plan B’ for Android in March, amid the escalating trade war between the US and China.
In an interview with Financial Times, Zhengfei denied that being added to the US entities list have would much impact on its business since the most advanced part of its operations lies in the chips it makes, such as its Kirin processors.
Zhengfei also talked up its protection of user data, claiming it would never hand over data to the Chinese government because it would be too risky for its reputation internationally.
“We will never do such a thing. If I had done it even once, the US would have evidence to spread around the world. Then the 170 countries and regions in which we currently operate would stop buying our products, and our company would collapse,” he told the Financial Times, according to CNBCTV18.
“After that, who would pay the debts we owe? Our employees are all very competent, so they would resign and start their own companies, leaving me alone to pay off our debts. I would rather die.”