According to a report by Tech.Sina, Google will finally bring its services in to China. Lenovo chief, Chen Xudong claims Google is on track to bring its Play Services to the nation at some point in 2016, and that its desire to do so isn’t a secret. Google wants its services back in China, but has faced strong opposition from the government in the past, heavily restricting its presence there.
While Android has long been the dominant smartphone platform in China, Google’s presence there is still very limited. In fact, Google Play Services are practically non-existent. Before the Nexus 6P was built, it was rumored by a reliable publication that Google had chosen Huawei specifically because of its influence in China. With Huawei being a Chinese brand, and the biggest seller of smartphones in the country, its influence is huge. What’s more, Google also recently partnered with (and took a minor stake in) Mobvoi, one of the most widely-used and advanced Chinese AI and voice recognition companies.
Clearly, with Android being the most widely-used smartphone OS in China, Play Services aren’t required or critical to the platform’s success. Bringing Play Services in to China would mostly be an effort to help end fragmentation in a country where multiple app stores exist for Android.
No specific timeframe was given in terms of when we might see Google Play back in China. One can only assume getting the service approved takes multiple jumps over political hurdles and cutting through endless miles of red tape. We’ll keep you updated when/if there’s any more to share on the issue.