Mac sales in China grow, but government wants its own

Mac sales in China have been growing in recent years, with Apple Silicon models accelerating their popularity. But the Chinese government has a plan to reduce its reliance on US tech from Apple and Microsoft: creating its own operating system …

Background

Like any other country in the world, China’s personal computers are pretty much split between Windows and Mac. Apple has steadily increased its market share in recent years, currently holding around 15% of the market, while Windows has the other 85% – and rival operating systems like Linux are essentially just statistical noise.

The Chinese government has for years been unhappy about this reliance on US tech, and tasked the National University of Defence Technology of the People’s Liberation Army with developing a home-grown operating system. This was achieved in 2001 in the form of Kylin, but while it has been used for military and government computer systems, it hasn’t really made any inroads into wider use.

openKylin

South China Morning Post reports that the country is now making a more concerted effort to bring Kylin into mainstream use, by creating an open-source version, openKylin. The first versions of Kylin were based on FreeBSD, while current versions are Linux-based.

China has created an open platform to accelerate the development of a home-grown desktop operating system, in its latest effort to shake off the country’s reliance on foreign systems such as Microsoft Windows and Apple’s MacOS.

Kylinsoft, a subsidiary of state-owned China Electronics Corp, last week joined forces with more than 10 Chinese entities, including the National Industrial Information Security Development Research Centre, to set up an open-source code community.

Named “openKylin”, it allows programmers to publish and share computer codes related to the Kylin operating system.

The effort comes amid rising tensions between the United States and China. The latter has been trying to boost local production of key technologies ranging from semiconductors to software.

9to5Mac’s Take

Whether or not this initiative succeeds (and my money would be on “not”), it’s kind of ironic that China is concerned about become overly dependent on the US, when the US is so heavily dependent on China as a manufacturing center.

While Apple is making increasing efforts to diversify its manufacturing base, the pace remains slow. We’ve been raising this issue for years now, and the Ukraine crisis has cast a new light on the level of risk.

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