Google reportedly wants to work with Chinese government again, five years after it withdrew from the country
Google is reportedly considering a formal return to China in order to capitalise on rising mobile phone use in the country – the world’s largest smartphone market.
The company launched Google.cn in 2006 but stopped censoring search results in 2010 after it discovered a cyber-attack in which the Gmail accounts of dozens of human rights activists were allegedly accessed.
Back then, China accounted for one percent of the Alphabet-subsidiary’s revenue, but rapid adoption of smartphones, many of which used forked versions of Android rather than official releases that make use of Google services, may have prompted a rethink.
According to The Information, Google wants to receive approval for a special Chinese version of Google Play app and will offer incentives for phone manufacturers to use upgraded versions of Android, including wearables.
Reports say Google has assured the Chinese government it will obey all local laws and block applications deemed to be objectionable. The app will also only work on Android M, the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system, and on devices that adhere to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology requirements.
China is also proving fertile ground for Apple, which has enjoyed a 68 percent increase in sales, but is still dwarfed by local Android manufacturers like Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo.
TechWeekEurope has contacted Google for comment but had not received a response at the time of publication.
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