From pushing artificial intelligence research and machine learning tools to local investments, recent weeks have seen a flurry of Google developments in China. The latest has the company partnering with WeChat developer Tencent in a patent cross-licensing deal, as well as promising to collaborate on future technology developments.

In China, Tencent is a major player through its WeChat social media platform. The app has nearly a billion users and features a number of other services and functionality. Meanwhile, it maintains one of the country’s most popular app stores, while Google lacks a similar presence. Reuters also notes footprints in payments, livestreaming, and gaming.

The cross-licensing deal is in line with arrangements Google has made with the likes of Samsung, LG, and Cisco to limit patent litigation. However, it is Google’s first with a Chinese company. The two will have access to each other’s portfolio, though neither specified the exact range, nor shared financial details of the arrangement.

Meanwhile, the deal will see the two companies partner on future technology, and is seen as Google’s way of returning to China after its 2010 exit over self-censorship disputes.

In December, the Google AI China Center opened to support local research, while the TensorFlow machine learning library is popular with Chinese developers. Other developments include an investment in a YouTube Gaming-like livestreaming service, as well as expanding on the hardware front in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

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Abner Li

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