Google is looking to launch a special version of its Google Play app store in China next year, according to a Reuters report. The internet giant is looking to launch a kind of stand-alone version of the store for mainland China that isn’t connected to its existing app store, according to the report.
Google left China in 2010 as a response to Chinese hacking attacks as well as the Chinese government’s censorship requirements. With the new offering, Google now seems to be willing to accept the latter; Reuters reports that Google would comply with content censorship requests, but keep the store separate as to not impose those requirements on users located outside of the country.
Online magazine The Information first reported about Google’s plans to reenter China in September.
A launch of the app store could come in the first half of 2016, possibly as early as after Chinese New Year in February, according to the report. The company may use the Play Store to further expand into China, and for example use it as a launchpad for some of its own apps and services.
Android is the most-used mobile operating system in China, but most users don’t have any Google apps on their phones. Instead, they access app stores from mobile device makers like Xiaomi and internet companies like Tencent and Baidu.