Google is attempting to launch its Play Store in China. The search engine is trying to collaborate with NetEase, a domestic Chinese firm to launch its app store in the country.
Google Play store that had launched as Android Market exited the Chinese market in 2010. However, the rumors of the Google Play Store making a comeback in 2016 started swirling in the last quarter of 2015. Google was expected to launch a stripped-down version of the Play Store by adhering to the data storage and content laws of China. However, the Play Store for Chinese audience did not arrive in 2016.
Even though Google and NetEase have not openly spoken about partnership, but the latter has approached the search engine giant to bring back Play Store in China. There is no confirmation whether the proposed partnership will develop into an agreement.
It seems that Google’s partnership with NetEase will result in a launch of heavily censored version of the Play Store. It means that the content that is available to global users of Play Store will not be available for users in China. Since the partnership between the two companies may relaunch Play Store in China, this could be the reason why Google could have scrapped it plans for launching it in 2016.
As of this writing, there is no confirmation on the timeframe of the arrival of Google’s app store in China. NetEase has a track record of partnering with Western companies to make their products available in China. Hence, it could be another attempt from NetEase to assist to relaunch its app store in the country.
Google had left Chinese market completely in 2010 because it denied to censor its search results which caused the government of China to add restrictions to Hong Kong edition of Google Search. Ultimately, Google had to withdraw the access to Play Store in China.
Even though Android is most popular mobile OS in the country, there are only a handful of smartphone OEMs that shipped devices with Google Play Store preinstalled. Hence, Android device users in China make use of other popular app stores Baidu App Store, Tencent App Gem, Wandoujia, app stores from Xiaomi and Huawei and others.