China could have a new homegrown operating system by October to take on imported rivals such as Microsoft, Google and Apple, Xinhua, the government news agency, reported.
Computer technology became an area of tension between China and the United States after a number of run-ins over cybersecurity. China is now looking to help its domestic industry catch up with imported systems such as Windows from Microsoft and the mobile operating system Android from Google.
The operating system would first appear on desktop devices and later extend to smartphone and other mobile devices, Xinhua reported on Sunday, citing Ni Guangnan who heads an official operating system development alliance established in March.
Mr. Ni’s comments were originally reported by the People’s Post and Telecommunications News, an official trade paper run by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
“We hope to launch a Chinese-made desktop operating system by October supporting app stores,” Mr. Ni told the trade paper. Some Chinese operating systems already exist, but there is a large gap between China’s technology and that of developed countries, he added.
He said he hoped domestically built software could replace desktop operating systems within one to two years and mobile operating systems within three to five years.
In May, China banned government use of Windows 8, Microsoft’s latest operating system, a blow to the American technology company’s business, raising fears that China was moving to protect domestic companies. Microsoft is also under investigation in China for antitrust violations.
In March 2013, China said that Google had too much control over the country’s smartphone industry via its Android mobile operating system and had discriminated against some local businesses.
Mutual suspicions between China and the United States over hacking have escalated over the past year following revelations by Edward J. Snowden that the United States National Security Agency planted “backdoor” surveillance tools on America-made hardware.
The United States Justice Department, meanwhile, indicted five members of the Chinese military in May on counts of extensive industrial espionage.
Mr. Ni said the ban on Windows 8 was a big opportunity for the Chinese sector to push forward its own systems but that the industry needed further development and investment.
“Creating an environment that allows us to contend with Google, Apple and Microsoft — that is the key to success,” he added.