Google has plans to re-enter China and give Chinese mobile users access to its Google Play app store as early as this fall, according to a report by the Information. However, the Chinese version of Google Play won’t make media companies a whole lot of money: To appease censors, Google is planning not to sell any digital media through the store, according to the report.
A Google spokesperson declined to comment.
Google decided to pull out of China in response to cyber-attacks against it in 2010. It has since offered Chinese consumers access to its web search engine through servers set up in Hong Kong, but they don’t have easy access to Google’s mobile apps or its app store.
That’s despite the fact that Google’s Android operating system is extremely popular in the region: Android-based phones from both Xiaomi and Huawei outsold Apple’s iPhone in China during Q2 of 2015. However, both companies use modified versions of Google’s Android system that have replaced Google Play with their own app stores.
Google now wants to get back in the game by complying with local censorship laws, and also offering app publishers a more generous revenue cut that competing app stores, according to the report.
The rationale for getting back into the Chinese market is obvious: China has emerged as the world’s biggest mobile market, with companies like Apple now making more than a quarter of their money in China.