Mobile phone manufacturer HTC is developing a smartphone operating system specifically for the Chinese market in an effort to turn its fortunes around, sources close to the Taiwanese company have said.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the China-specific operating software will see HTC smartphones integrate with Chinese applications such as the nation's equivalent of Twitter, Weibo, as the firm tries to tap into a market comprising almost one and a half billion people.
The project is reportedly being overseen by HTC chairwoman Cher Wang, who has been in contact with the Chinese authorities about project.
The Chinese government aims to encourage development of local software and computer systems to lessen reliance on Western firms and products. A white paper released by China's technology ministry earlier this year stated that the country is too reliant on Google's Android software in its smartphone ecosystem, while also praising a number of Chinese firms that have developed their own software and systems. However, it's unclear whether HTC's new operating system is completely new, or will be built on existing Android software.
Once one of the most popular Android brands, HTC recently dropped to 10th place in the global smartphone market, with shares dropping to a seven-and-a-half-year low.
However, HTC has vowed to close the gap on smartphone rivals Apple and Samsung, with CEO Peter Chou previously insisting the worst is over for HTC and that the firm has a brighter future.