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Is Google Returning to the Chinese Market


Back in June, Forbes reported that Google could be planning a return to the Chinese market by the end of the year. Now, recent domain registrations by Google appear to confirm this.

Last month, several media outlets reported that Google had registered more than 20 domains that appear to be connected with its Google Play app. This provides credibility to the Forbes' report that Google has "plans to launch a Chinese version of its flagship Google Play app store" before the end of 2015.

Some of the notable domains that Google registered include:

  • googleplaychina.com
  • googleplaychinaedition.com
  • googlechinaaccount.com
  • googlechinaedition.com
  • gcaapis.com
  • gcaauth.com
  • gpceauth.com
  • gpceimages.com
  • gpcedata.com

While this isn't necessarily big news for domainers, it is an interesting development in Google's storied relationship with the Chinese market.

Back in 2010, it was widely reported that Google gave up on the Chinese market after failing to make enough ground on local search leader Baidu. Beijing' censorship policies were also to blame, resulting in a "high-profile spat" that ended with Google withdrawing its core search engine there.

Now, Google appears to be doing a complete 180.

The Chinese market is proving to be too big to ignore, as other tech companies like LinkedIn and Facebook have been working to make ground there, despite censorship concerns.

Forbes contributor Doug Young writes:

"In this particular instance Google’s China U-turn is being driven by the explosion in the country’s smartphone market, which has soared over the last 2 years to overtake the US and become the world’s largest. It’s hard to ignore a market of that size, especially when Google’s own Android system is powering the vast majority of smartphones now being sold in China."

Granted, Google's Play app store shouldn't face the same level of censorship problems as its search engine. And most of Google's other sites and services will still remain blocked. But according to Forbes,, Google plans to spend aggressively in China to quickly gain market share, and this could "mark a major shift in that relationship, as it would see Google open an official Beijing-approved version of its app store for Chinese users."


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