A report from Reuters citing “people familiar with the matter” states that Google is aiming to launch Google Play in China next year.
The Chinese version of the Google Play Store would be set up specifically for the Chinese market and according to the government regulation there, and will not be connected to the international version of the app store.
Google has had its employees working hard in China to lay the ground for the app store’s launch, said one of the people with knowledge of executives’ plans.
To bring the Google Play Store to China, Google will have to comply with all the local laws of the Chinese government, including censoring out content that is deemed sensitive by the government and storing data on servers hosted in the country. Google is hoping to launch Google Play in China some time after the Chinese New Year in February next year but before the onset of summer.
Reports about Google working on bringing Google Play to China have been circulating since the last few months. Reports had earlier claimed that Google would be launching the Play Store in China alongside the launch of the Nexus 6P, which is made by the Chinese OEM Huawei, but that did not happen.
The Chinese smartphone market is among the largest in the world, and not having a presence in the country is hurting Google more than Chinese consumers who have now shifted to alternatives made by Chinese companies.