Google Plans Return to China

Apps-play-storeAfter a five year absence, Google is planning to restart operations in mainland China as soon as this autumn, with a focus on mobile and its Play app store.

According to The Information, the company has been working with the Chinese government to create a special version of its Google Play mobile app store which will be approved for distribution in China.

The move is an attempt to capture some of the vast smartphone audience in China, and to re-establish the company as an Internet services provider in Asia.

Due to Chinese regulations, if Google wishes to operate in the country it will have to store user data locally and comply with government censorship requirements in place, which would include blocking apps that the government doesnt approve of.

Google pulled its services out of mainland China in 2010 following a cyber attack that was linked to the Chinese government, and has since had a frosty relationship with the country. Currently, the companys Chinese-language search engine uses a Hong Kong-based web domain.

The company is reportedly partnering with local firms as part of its plans, and will showcase apps by Chinese developers through its Play store. An announcement regarding Android Wear, the companys wearable OS, is expected later this month, with some predicting that a special version for China will be introduced that will also run a limited version of the Play app store.