China’s Huawei is in the process of potentially launching its HongMeng operating system (OS) to replace the U.S. Android OS, an executive said on Thursday, after the company applied to trademark the OS in various countries.
Data from the U.N. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) showed that Huawei has filed for trademark HongMeng in at least nine countries including Cambodia, New Zealand, South Korea. It may be deploying a back-up plan in key markets as U.S. sanctions threaten its business model.
President Donald Trump’s administration last month put Huawei on a blacklist that barred it from doing business with U.S. tech companies such as Alphabet Inc, whose Android OS is used in Huawei’s phones.
Andrew Williamson, vice president of Huawei’s public affairs and communications, said HongMeng was moving forward.
“Huawei is in the process of potentially launching a replacement,” Williamson said in an interview in Mexico City. “Presumably we’ll be trying to put trademarks.”
Huawei, the world’s biggest maker of telecoms network gear, has filed for a HongMeng trademark in countries such as Cambodia, Canada, South Korea and New Zealand, data from the U.N. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) shows. It also filed an application in Peru on May 27, according to the country’s anti-trust agency Indecopi.
Huawei has a back-up OS in case it is cut off from U.S.-made software, Richard Yu, chief executive of the company’s consumer division, told German newspaper Die Welt in an interview earlier this year.
The United States have repeatedly warmed their allies including those in Europe against buying Huawei equipment for next-generation mobile networks.
Huawei, also the world’s second-largest maker of smartphones, has not yet revealed details about its OS.
The applications to trademark the OS show that Huawei wants to use HongMeng for gadgets ranging from smartphones and portable computers to robots and car televisions.
At home, Huawei applied for a HongMeng trademark in August last year and it was approved last month, according to a filing on China’s intellectual property administration’s website.
According to WIPO data, the earliest Huawei applications to trademark the HongMeng OS outside China were made on May 14 to the European Union Intellectual Property Office and South Korea, or right after the U.S. threatened to blacklist Huawei.
Huawei has been accused by the U.S. officials of working for the Chinese government. The company has denied all those accusations, saying its products pose no security threats.
However, consumers have been spooked by how matters have escalated, with many looking to offload their devices on worries they would be cut off from Android updates in the wake of the U.S. blacklist.
Huawei’s hopes to become the world’s top-selling smartphone maker in the fourth quarter this year have now been delayed, a senior Huawei executive said this week.
Peru’s Indecopi has said it needs more information from Huawei before it can register a trademark for HongMeng. Peru has some 5.5 million Huawei phone users. The agency did not give details on the documents it had sought, but said Huawei had up to nine months to respond.
Huawei representatives in Peru declined to provide immediate comment, while the Chinese embassy in Lima did not respond to requests for comment.