Since Alphabet was announced as a new company, and co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin basically promoted Product Managers to CEO’s in their perspective units. There’s been a bit of confusion. Is Larry Page still in charge of Google? Not really. That’s Sundar Pichai’s field of expertise, hence why his title is Google CEO. Alphabet’s CEO, Larry Page was speaking at a public talk at the Fortune Global Forum in San Francisco, Monday night and told everyone that what Google does in China is not up to him, and basically he’s fine with that. By saying “also delegated this question to Sundar.” Page did say that he helps Sundar think about re-entering China, but he doesn’t have to answer that question.
All of this makes perfect sense. As Pichai is the CEO of Google now, so it is completely up to him with what the search engine does to get back into China. Back in 2010, Google pulled their services from China (which are also blocked by the firewall in China), over censorship as well as some cyber attacks that the search engine believed traced back to China. However, recently there have been reports that Google wants to come back to China at least in some capacity.
Reports have surfaced that Google wants to bring the Play Store to China, although it would be very limited as they are looking to adhere to the censorship laws in the People’s Republic of China. Of course, this version of the Play Store would only allow apps that are approved by the Chinese Government. Like WeChat and Weibo.
On a related note, Sergey Brin, who co-founded Google and now Alphabet with Larry Page, was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal last month and hinted at a return to China. Stating that units of Alphabet are free to do what they want, in terms of operating in China. Now Google isn’t completely absent in China, as Android is the most common operating system in China. However, it’s not the same Android we know and love in the rest of the world, as Google services are stripped out, due to the censorship.
China is a huge market. Not just for Android, but for Google as a whole. So it’s not a question of if Google will return to China, it’s a question of when.