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Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Will Google Play Store return to China anytime soon? According to The Information, talks between Google and Chinese government officials are underway with the hope of launching a Google Android app store in China this autumn.
However, if Google does re-enter the Chinese market it won’t be Google Play Store as we know it. It will be a Chinese government-approved version – one that appeases Chinese officials – a censored Google Android app store.
While the Android operating system is hugely popular in China, very few devices have Google Play Store installed but, of course, if things go according to plan a censored Google Android app store would generate massive revenue for Google, providing them with a large slice of the billion dollar pie, which Apple already enjoys.
According to anonymous sources speaking to The Information, Google has been working on a Google Android app store for over a year, ensuring that its apps are approved by the Chinese government. The censored Google Android app store would come pre-installed on new smartphones that will operate on Google’s licensed version of Android.
Google cut operational ties with mainland China in 2010 following censorship of its search results and cyberattacks against Gmail users. Google moved some of its operations to Hong Kong to evade China’s strict laws on internet censorship. The Information reports that a return for a Google Android app store in China would only be approved if Google agrees to block any apps that break China’s strict censorship regime, and according to the report, Google is willing to comply; “The moves will re-establish Google as an Internet services provider in mainland China that stores user data locally and complies with government censorship requirements.”
If and when Google returns to China there is the possibility that they will push for more of their services to re-enter the Chinese market, such as its search and Gmail services. Having previously stood up against China’s strict censorship rules, are Google now sell-outs by making plans to return to China, bowing to their strict censorship regime? Or is time to sweep those ‘earlier’ issues under the rug and join Apple who already sells its iPhone and iPads and app store in China?
What do you think about a censored Google Android app store returning to China? Let us know your thoughts on the topic, by leaving your comment right here on our blog.
If you’re affected by China’s strict censorship laws, you could use a VPN to not only protect your online identity from snooping eyes, but to access your favourite sites and services which are often blocked by the Chinese government.

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