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Reports: Google creating a special ‘China-compatible’ Play Store

Digital Trends writes that the news was first reported by The Information this week, who was told by people “familiar| with Google’s plans that the strategy is nearing completion. Google is apparently heading to regulators this fall to obtain government approval for an adapted Play Store that will allow it to operate its services in line with official censorship in the country.
The company withdrew all of its services from China five years ago as it alleged that the government had blocked Gmail to silence a social uprising in the country. Google claimed China had designed a filter preventing people from sending messages while appearing as though the faults were occurring on Google’s side.
With those issues now in the past, the company seems ready to return to the important Chinese market. As rival Apple enjoys the nation’s massive population hungry for new devices, Google has locked itself away from the millions of people who could be using its own services.
Although Android devices are the most popular phones in the country, the vast majority do not have Google Play installed. Popular manufacturers like Xiaomi have developed their own app stores specifically for the Chinese market and the nature of Android means they have been able to build their own distinct versions of the operating system.
It is thought that China’s Huawei may be one of the first manufacturers to launch an Android device for China including a licensed version of the Play Store. The company is known to be producing a 5.7-inch Google-branded Nexus device — to be sold alongside a smaller LG Nexus — and it is possible this phone could be adapted and sold as the first official Google phone to feature the new “China-compatible” Play Store.
Google is known to be resistant to any form of censoring of its services. The entire China debacle started amid concerns of government interference and the company has repeatedly attacked the EU “right-to-be-forgotten” legislation introduced last year.
Regardless, Google may have finally given into the temptation of the millions of users in the Chinese market despite the heavy filtering of Chinese Internet traffic. The company is understood to be working to unblock more of its services, including Search and Gmail, once the Play Store and officially licensed Android devices are available in the country.

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