Alibaba’s mobile operating system YunOS will have 14% of the Chinese market by the end of the year, making it the second-largest mobile OS in China after Google’s Android, the South China Morning Post reported. Shipments of YunOS-powered smartphones this year are expected to exceed 100 million units.
Further, Alibaba has designed YunOS to work as an operating system for television set-top boxes, smart home appliances, tablets, internet-connected smart TVs, smart cars and Softbank’s Pepper robot.
In October, Spreadtrum Communications and RDA Microelectronic together with Alibaba’s YunOS business unit launched a new chip platform for hardware manufacturers to create IoT products.
In a new report, research firm Sanford C. Bernstein noted that the key motivation for hardware manufacturers to adopt YunOS is that Alibaba offers subsidies to encourage its adoption. Set-top box makers in China are said to receive from 20 to 60 yuan per box if they adopt YunOS.
YunOS smartphones tend to be cheap and most of their users are in China’s less developed cities. Data from Sino Market Research and Bernstein showed that 54 per cent of YunOS adoption last year was found in tier-4 cities or below. By contrast, adoption was just 9% in tier-1 cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
According to Bernstein senior analyst Mark Li, YunOS has limited growth prospects outside of China. Growth outside of China would likely be limited to “cheap or subsidised smartphones,” he said.
Alibaba-backed Meizu, XiaoLaJiao and Doov are the top YunOS smartphone suppliers, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.