Although its operating system is powering millions of smartphones in China, Google’s extended range of mobile services have been absent from the country following disputes with the Chinese government several years ago. However, Google is apparently “definitely” on track to bring its Play Services back to China this year, according to Lenovo chief Chen Xudong.
The article from Tech.Sina is a little light on details and doesn’t give an exact time frame for when Google Play will be returning to China. The reason for the return seems to simply be to make the most of the huge smartphone market share held by Android in the country. Google may also be looking to exert more control over its operating system in the country after the success of forked Android operating systems such as Xiaomi’s MIUI. Furthermore, Google could bring some unity to the scattered landscape of app stores in the country.
It is no secret that Google has been looking to become more involved in the Chinese technology market, striking up software partnerships with local companies such as Mobvoi, which works in AI and voice recognition. Google has also been fostering closer ties with some of the country’s biggest smartphone manufacturers. The tech giant sold the Motorola brand to Lenovo last year for US$2.91 billion, while the Nexus 6P was developed in conjunction with China’s Huawei, which is now the biggest smartphone brand in the country.
Previous reports on the matter have suggested that Google may create a regional version of its Play Store and services in order to comply with Chinese internet filtering laws. Of course, competition from established third party service will be tough for Google after its long absence from the country.