There are a lot of stories floating around the internet that suggest the success of Android in China can’t really be called a success due to the fact that almost half of all Chinese Android phones are not connected to Google in any way, shape, or form.
So does Google have a China problem?
Let's get something out of the way: Google had two goals in mind when they created Android. Their first goal was to disrupt Microsoft's business model of charging a licensing fee for an operating system. Android was born free and it's going to die free. Their second goal was to get more people looking at ads on the internet. How? By making it easier for companies to build devices that come with internet browsers. People using Google Maps and Gmail while on the go was just icing on the cake as far as Google was concerned.
Case in point, when Amazon announced the Kindle Fire, Google didn't flinch. Matias Duarte, the guy who is responsible for making Android look like Android, said in an interview that he's “excited for that future“, the future being a world where companies take Android and make it whatever they want it to be.
We can't stress this enough, Google doesn't make any money from Android, at least not directly. Yes, there are a ton of Android phones that use a different search engine by default and have an App Store that's filled with pirated Android applications, but do you really think Google cares?
China is going to become the most important smartphone market over the next few years, and most of the phones that are going to be sold there will have deep integration with the services that people in China are already using. Is that a bad thing? Not in the slightest bit.
What does a Google engineer sitting in California know about how a migrant worker might want to access the internet on his mobile phones? Exactly.