After years of being a minimal mobile player in China, Google is reportedly planning a return.
A specialized version of the Google Play Store is expected to launch in China, according to a Friday report from The Information. Android Wear watches could be in the mix too.
It's no secret that the Chinese government isn't a big fan of Google.
The search giant's services aren't welcome in China, essentially shutting Google out of serving (and gathering) information from the more than 1.3 billion Chinese residents. Instead, Baidu has a 70 percent share of search there followed by Qihoo 360 and Sogou/Soso.
China simply doesn't want large corporation from outside its borders getting consumer data nor providing an unfiltered view of the world.
That approach by China carries over into mobiles as well. You can't get the Google Play Store, nor the apps or content in it, very easily in China; at least not since 2010 when it got the boot. There are no Google apps available there either.
Instead, all of the Android devices in China run software based on the freely available Android Open Source Project, or AOSP, which Google and others contribute to. But you won't find the Play Store, Gmail, Google Maps or anything else with Google branding in AOSP.
And that's a problem for Google considering China's smartphone uptake is still on the rise and Apple is making great strides there.
While details are scarce, The Information says Google plans to run it's China Play Store locally and comply with government regulations and censorship requests.
So even if the Play Store does come to China, it will be a watered down version. That's likely OK with Google: Some app store revenue and consumer information is far better than none.