Google seeks to return to China with censored app store

By Ella Wong, September 6, 2015

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Google is planning to re-enter the Chinese market after a five-year absence with a China version of its mobile app store Google Play, according to The Information.

Google is reportedly in talks with the Chinese government and local phone makers to launch a version of Google Play – currently blocked in China – that would comply with censorship regulations. That would mean removing apps that the Chinese government does not approve of, and according to The Verge, not selling media like movies and books at all.

The tech giant pulled out of Mainland China in 2010 because it was unwilling to censor search results.  

Since then, the smartphone market has boomed in China, but Google has not been able to profit from Android sales because the Google-licensed version of Android is not available in China.

If Google can secure government approval for its app store, it will push manufacturers like Xiaomi and Huawei, which have their own versions of Android, to pre-load their phones sold in China with the Play Store.

“Once a Google Play store and official Android phones are in China, Google will use that to push for more of its services to be unblocked in the country,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

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