After largely abandoning China in 2010 among surveillance, cyberattack and censorship concerns, Google reportedly hopes to launch a version of its Play Store with Chinese characteristics as early as this fall.
Currently, Google services and apps aren’t included on Android phones sold in China, which can be pretty annoying.
According to a report from The Information, to pull this move off Google will rely heavily on domestic partners like Huawei to include the Play Store on phones sold throughout China. What exactly Google is offering Chinese companies, who already have their own very successful app stores, is not yet clear.
Of course, a larger barrier to pass is that of government approval. The Information reports that Google has already told regulators that it “will follow local laws and block apps that the government deems objectionable,” adding that it also has no interest in selling media like movies, music and books.
The Information adds that Google has an additional goal of introducing Android Wear to China, where it just might find a friendly market, but only with Google services available.
Now some five years after Google pulled out of China, it seems like some scars have still yet to heal. Last month, after Google revealed that it would become a subsidiary of a new holding company called Alphabet, the company’s website was banned in China in less than a day.