Brian Molidor Brian Molidor is Editor at Social News Watch. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Google Play may be returning to China early next year

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Back in 2010, Google decided to remove the Play Store from China rather than comply with Chinese censorship laws, which was admirable, but not that big of a deal considering how small China’s smartphone market was at the time. Now that China has become the largest smartphone market in the world, however, we’ve started hearing rumors that Google wants back in. Obviously it’s still going to have to cooperate with the Chinese government, and according to Reuters, it’ll be an entirely separate version of the Play Store that’s unique to China, and will launch early next year.

For months now we’ve been hearing rumors, and even semi-official murmurings, about how Google intends to re-enter the Chinese market, bringing services like Google Play to the country. Back in September, The Information even suggested that we might see the new store as early as this fall. According to the latest report from Reuters, however, the effort won’t actually go live until 2016. Google is already well in works on the effort according to sources “familiar to the matter” and will likely launch Google Play in the country after the Chinese New Year in February. We already knew that this version of Google Play would be “special” and different from the rest of the world, but Reuters’ sources give us a bit more detail on what to expect. Aside from obvious language localization, the Chinese Google Play store would also be hosted entirely within the country and would have no direct connection to the ‘regular’ Google Play store’s servers. This Chinese version would fully comply with Chinese filtering laws, which require certain “sensitive” terms to be blocked. Google would also work to have local payment options baked in, like Alipay, WeChat Payment, and other local methods that would make the store more friendly for China.

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Brian Molidor Brian Molidor is Editor at Social News Watch. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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