The struggles of Chinese tech companies like ZTE and Huawei illustrate how important it is for China to break away from dependence on US technology. ZTE was reliant on chips made in the US to produce smartphones, chips which have now been denied them. US sanctions on Huawei saddled it with the difficult task of selling Android handsets outside China without Google apps or services installed. The current political climate makes it imperative that China has its own software and hardware foundations in place to avoid US sanctions.

Union Tech began as a joint venture between state-run tech corporations and Wuhan Deepin Technology. Union Tech emerged and Deepin's founder, Liu Wenhan became Union Tech’s general manager. Liu explains that while home grown Chinese operating systems currently occupy a small percentage of this vast country's domestic market (Windows 7 and XP still hold top domestic spots), nevertheless he expects free open-source Chinese developed Linux operating systems to capture 20% to 30% of the domestic market in the not too distant future, and within 3 years any need for foreign software or hardware he anticipates will essentially be eliminated. With the almost 30 year track record of open-source Linux development to draw from, Liu says China and Union Tech are in this for the long haul, and that progress towards the nation's goals will come more swiftly than many anticipate.

Union Tech's new 'UOS' (Unity Operating System) is based on their highly popular 'Deepin' OS, China’s most successful Linux desktop distribution. 'UOS' offered it's first stable release in January of this year, booting and running flawlessly on Chinese chip technology. 'UOS' may be a primary incentive for Chinese chip manufacturers to close the gap and produce chips matching or exceeding the capabilities of US chips in every way. Union Tech is working hand in hand with domestic chip makers to speed the replacement of American chip and operating system technology, initially in government offices and critical industries, and ultimately in every sector of Chinese life.

In December 2019, China ordered government offices and public institutions to remove and replace foreign hardware and software tech within the next three years. So it looks like the final effect of US tech 'sanctions' on China may prove to be its liberation from long held dependence on closed-source US operating systems as it moves to implement and deploy an open-source OS as all pervasive as older versions of Windows have been to this point.

With a user interface that strikingly imitates other operating systems, Union Tech's Deepin OS comes with an application dock, a launchpad and a file manager/browser much like those found in MacOS. It also has Android-style notifications and control panels, plus a Windows style start button and cascading application menu. Deepin also has an 'App Store' where users can find and install popular software. Now comes Union Tech's new 'UOS', similar to Deepin in the way it looks making it attractive to domestic users across the board. 'UOS' meets domestic users needs right now and will do so for the foreseeable future, thus finding itself at the forefront of China's effort to sever its dependency on closed-source US software and chip technology.

Time will tell how China's goal of moving away from dependence on US tech progresses. With a government mandated 3 year deadline looming and every sector of China's tech industry getting onboard, no way I'd bet against them accomplishing their goal within the designated time frame.


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