ZTE and semiconductor company Spreadtrum have both been linked with a project to build a secure smartphone using Chinese technology, in order to address concerns about the deep penetration of US-originated technologies.
According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the effort includes state-owned companies and “some of the country’s savvier technology firms”, and comes against a backdrop of concern about potential “back doors” in some equipment.
As with the rest of the world, China’s smartphone market is dominated by devices powered by Android and iOS, often using processors from Qualcomm.
While a number of efforts have been made to create smartphone platforms specifically tailored for a Chinese audience, which strip-out Google’s products and services, these are still underpinned by the open-source version of Android.
However, WSJ noted that the current aim is not to create a consumer product with homegrown technology, and is focused on a device for government agencies and state-owned companies. As a result, many consumer features, such as cameras and Bluetooth, will be omitted.