After five years of absence on the Chinese market, Google is trying once more to conquer the country’s mainland with two major releases especially catered to the Chinese public’s taste.
According to sources familiar with the matter, the tech giant is currently negotiating with Chinese officials for an approval of a Chinese version of its app store designed for headsets that run its Android operating system. The leak was released Friday by a tech site specialized in exclusive tech news. The sources’ identities were not disclosed.
The same sources claim that the tech giant also plans to roll out a China specific version of its Android Wear OS that can be run on high-tech wearables. The company would abide by the Chinese government rules and would make unavailable for download software that may be controversial to Chinese officials.
Google couldn’t be reached for comment.
If the rumors hold true, this means that the U.S. tech giant may want to bury the hatchet when it comes to China. Five years ago, the company decided to shut down most of its operations in the country due to strict government censorship.
Some of the operations were relocated to Hong Kong to avoid Beijing’s requests of censoring search results. At that time, Google also complained that the Chinese government orchestrated a series of violent cyber attacks against its servers.
Because Android for smartphone didn’t have an in-built Chinese version, phone makers were allowed to feel free and modify the OS on their devices. As a result, Google lost control over how Android looks like on Chinese customers’ smartphones, while the market was invaded with hundreds of customized versions.
But a standardized Chinese version of Google’s apps and services may make it easier for developers to design new Android apps for the Chinese market. China is currently the country with the largest smartphone market on the globe.
Additionally, a Chinese-friendly app store may help Google siphon customers from local app stores set in place by Baidu, Xiaomi, and Tencent.
On the other hand, there are critics who claim the U.S. tech company may have gone too soft and gave in to the Chinese government’s pressures. Google was hailed worldwide when it took a strong stance against censorship in 2010, althoughthe move negatively impacted its business.
Rumors also have it, that Google may make an official announcement about the its new app store’s rollout in China in the coming weeks.
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