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Google Nears Re-entry to Mainland China

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Bloomberg.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Bloomberg.

After a five year absence, Google expects to return shortly to mainland China to sell mobile services, a move with ramifications for the future of Android and a host of Chinese companies.

As early as this fall, the company hopes to get Chinese government approval to distribute a special China version of its Google Play mobile app store for Android smartphones in the country, said people familiar with the plan. Google has extensive plans for how it will architect and run the store locally and has partnerships in place with specific Chinese companies to do so.

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But new revenue growth in China won’t come from search. Even if Google ever did decide to start self-censoring Google search results in China (which it did before 2010) and host the service there, that won’t make a difference. Back then, Google was already losing to local search firm Baidu, and Googlers say the government viewed search as too strategically important to let a foreign firm own it.


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Google has promised authorities that it will follow local laws and block apps that the government deems objectionable, say the people familiar with Google’s plans

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