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China concerned about its reliance on Android

Google's Android has become a popular operating system among Chinese phone and tablet makers, but the government believes that local firms have possibly become too reliant on the search giant's mobile OS.

The China Academy of Telecommunication Research (CATR) last week published a white paper that examined the state of the mobile Internet in China.

In recent years, Chinese phone makers have developed a "serious ... dependence" on Android, according to a translated version of the paper. Even though Android is open source, the core technology is under Google's "strict controls," report authors wrote.

The report pointed to discimination on Google's part when it comes to the sharing of code and commercial agreements.

Developing a new operating system is difficult because Google and Apple's iOS currently dominate the market, the report continued. They have "an obvious advantage, [and have] formed a huge ecosystem."

The report acknowledges that China does not have an effective patent system, and that much of the world's tech-related patents are controlled by European and American firms.

As noted by Reuters, the white paper doesn't actually recommend any steps or regulatory action. But analysts told the news agency that the report could be the first step in the development of regulations against Android.

Google has had a rather complicated relationship with China of late. The search giant has accused the country of hacking its systems in an effort to spy on human rights activists and steal intellectual property. Google threatened to leave the Chinese market several years ago, but ultimately reached a deal to remain there. More recently, Google has started serving up warnings about possible state-sponsored attacks, as well as censorship in China.

Chinese phone manufacturers, however, have been doing rather well in the market lately, particularly Huawei. During the final quarter of 2012, Huawei took the third spot in the global smartphone market with 4.9 per cent, while ZTE nabbed fifth place with 4.3 per cent, according to IDC. In 2012 overall, Huawei sold 27.2 million smartphones, up 73.8 per cent from the year before, according to Gartner.

At Mobile World Congress last week, Huawei unveiled the 4.7in Ascend P2, calling it the "world's fastest smartphone."