We’ve been hearing about this for a few months now. That Google is looking to re-enter the largest country in the world (by population). And with the company looking to reach the “next billion users” this is a prime target for them. Google pulled out of China back in 2010, when they decided they did not want to play ball with the Chinese government’s censorship laws. However, they are now looking to re-enter the country starting with the Google Play Store.
Rumors have suggested that the Google Play Store would be censored in China, with only apps approved by the Chinese government, available for download within the Play Store. Something that would be much different from what we see here in the US and other parts of the world. This report out of Reuters also says that the company would store data from the Play Store within the country, and localize it. This means you likely won’t see any apps like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram included in the Play Store, considering those services are still banned and blocked in China. Google has yet to respond to this report, speculating that it is making a return to China. However, Alphabet’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page have both said that Google and other parts of Alphabet are free to operate in whichever countries they choose. And Google re-entering China would be up to Sundar Pichai, the current CEO of Google.
This report also mentioned that Google Play would be available in China after the Chinese new year which is in February, but before the summer season begins. So we could see Google Play re-enter China in the next few months. This would be a big step for Google. In hopefully getting a majority of their services back into China. While the Google Play store is going to be first, there likely won’t be any ads in their version of the Play Store. Which means Google won’t be making much money off of China, at least at first. That will change, however, as we’d all expect it too. With so many other app stores in China, largely because Google was absent. Google is going to have a tough time competing with everyone else.