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Secrets Behind Huawei’s Hongmeng OS: Anchored In Nokia, Beating Android

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Summary

It is believed that the original research and development team of Huawei Hongmeng OS is from Nokia.

In the domestic markets, the success of Hongmeng OS is largely depending on Tencent.

Hongmeng OS has a great chance to surpass Android, based on technological know-how.

On July 31, Huawei announced its business results for the first half of 2019: revenue increased by 23.2% year-on-year to CNY401.3 billion, which shows Huawei's amazing vitality.

During the press conference, the question asked the most was on Huawei's in-house operating system “Hongmeng”, but the answer from Liang Hua, the rotating chairman, was unclear.

Here, based on information collected in the past few months, we will show you what we know about Hongmeng OS.

The telecommunication industry started to learn about Huawei's Hongmeng OS in late 2015. From our source, Hongmeng OS is called "LiteOS" inside of Huawei, and it was originally Huawei's light version OS for IOT (Internet of Things) devices.

Some people in the industry believe that the original research and development team of Hongmeng OS is from Nokia. This view seems to be plausible from public information:

In 2011, after abandoning its own smart phone Symbian platform, Nokia announced that it will transfer the software development team of the Symbian platform to Accenture, a consulting company. By the end of the year, 3,000 Symbian developers from Nokia joined Accenture to continue developing the platform. Accenture is Huawei's strategic partner, and the two have been working closely together for many years.

However, even if Hongmeng OS was born of Nokia's Symbian, the subsequent research and development is based on Huawei's own needs and embarked on its own technical route.

Hongmeng OS is currently being researched and developed by Huawei's Central Software Institute. The kernel should be based on Linux.

Many industry professionals we interviewed believe that Hongmeng OS is not widely used in mobile phones currently.

The reason is that Huawei has not planned and is not fully prepared to develop a mobile operating system. Considering that Huawei has always been an enterprise service provider, its mobile phone business has only gradually emerged in recent years. Although it has always been wary of Google's system, for Huawei, the challenge of developing a new operating system and created a new ecosystem is enormous.

In addition, unless it is the last resort, Hongmeng OS will almost certainly be resisted by the Huawei’s sales team. Even if it is now blocked by the "Android + GMS" ecology, the internal staff still expects the ban will be lifted via negotiations.

However, judging from the attitude of Huawei's top management, Hongmeng OS will play an increasingly important role in the Huawei system.

We believe that the probability that Hongmeng OS will reach or exceed the Android system in the future is high, from the perspective of technological know-how.

From the perspective of evolution path, the Hongmeng OS may repeat the path of Kirin chip:

When Huawei first launched Kirin chip, it also suffered from chip fever and poor performance.

Later, Huawei applied the Kirin chip to products such as set-top boxes and network cards, and gradually expanded the scope of its application, which finally achieved success.

We reckon that Hongmeng OS may repeat the original strategy of Kirin chip, first focus on TV, tablet, intelligent hardware and other IOT (Internet of Things) scenarios, gradually cultivate user habits, expand participants of Hongmeng OS ecosystem, and finally have a virtuous circle.

In addition, we believe that the future Hongmeng OS may adopt the design concept of “weakening the app store” to reduce the dependence on the system ecosystem software in the initial stage. For example, the way to push an app based on user needs. The so-called "smart service".

Despite of this, the expansion of Hongmeng OS's overseas market will also face challenge from users who rely on Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube and other applications.

In the domestic markets, the success of Hongmeng OS is largely depending on Tencent.

While WeChat has almost become an operating system itself, Zhang Xiaolong, the founder of Wechat, has not yet spoken out his further plan.

Previously, Huawei's Honor Magic phones applied the "applications lead to applications" concept, where the system suggests Huawei applications, products or movies based on leads from the user’s WeChat chat records. This violated Wechat’s privacy philosophy and the two had a difficult relationship.

As Wechat is a must-have app for Chinese users, it’s nod is critical for Huawei’s development in the domestic markets.

To conclude, Hongmeng OS may not be widely used in mobile phones for now, but it is becoming increasingly important in the Huawei system. Based on Huawei’s technological know-how, Hongmeng OS has a great chance to surpass the Android system.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.