In 2010, Google took the decision to scale back their Chinese presence because the authorities had banned, or censored, many of Google’s services in the country. Other businesses from around the world must also censor their products and services when being piped into the country. We are now slowly seeing the signs that this is changing and some Google services are being allowed back into the Chinese borders. Google already employ over five hundred people in Shanghai, Beijing, and are advertising for another fifty four posts covering roles such as software engineers, product managers and creative consultants, working for a number of different units including the Google Play Store and mobile division. The advertisements went up a month ago on the 7 December via the LinkedIn professional social network.
Google spokesman, Robin Moroney, said the following: “We’re always on the lookout for great new employees to join the hundreds of Googlers already working in China and the number of today’s postings are about average for the past few years.” However, Google have remained quiet about the brand’s Chinese expansion plans although China is a potentially significant market for both Google and parent company Alphabet. We have seen a number of rumors over the years and most recently, that Google is considering opening an app store for local (Chinese) users. At the time of writing, Google Search, Gmail and YouTube is banned from China and as a result, whilst the majority of smartphones sold into the region run software that is based on Android, the manufacturers and developers have taken full advantage of how flexible and open source the code it.
Google clearly cannot ignore the Chinese market: the number of non-Google Android devices sold and used around the world is not too dissimilar from the number of Google-enabled Android devices, and indeed this influx of devices has been seen as a threat for Google. We do not know if Google’s core Search, Gmail and YouTube services will be opened up into the region but Google offer many additional products and services. It may be the case that a local presence will go a long way towards developing Chinese-friendly applications, products and services.