“Google Pursuing a Return to China”
September 4, 2015
After ceasing operations in 2010, Google is once again looking to enter the world’s second largest economy by introducing a Google licensed version of the Android with Google’s Play app store. This is a customized version of their Play app store that includes material approved by the Chinese government. Google previously closed operations in China after Gmail users were hacked and following disputes with the government over censorship. Since Google left, China has become the largest smartphone market. Of course Google has aspirations to service this market but with how opposed they’ve been to web censorship it will be interesting seeing how they navigate this new venture.
The Chinese government isn’t’ their only barrier to entry. Competitors such as Xiaomi Inc. and OnePlus have their own versions of the Android and other companies like Baidu Inc, and Tencent Holdings have created their own app store. Eventually Google would be interested in resuming its search and Gmail services for Android users in China but as you can see they have a lot to overcome. I personally believe that if Google wants to serve the Chinese market bad enough they’ll give in to the Chinese government and give them a way to monitor the information being exchanged on the web. However, in the meantime they’ll use this as a stepping stone to merely reestablish themselves. Once they obtain market share, and I have no doubt they will, they can look to reestablish themselves as a search and email service.
This is a great example of an uncontrollable element with marketing in a foreign country. The Political and Legal forces in this case are out of Google’s control and thus Google must succumb to the requirements of the Chinese government to penetrate the Chinese market.