Android’s relationship with China is a tricky one, to say the least. While Android or Android-based platforms power over seventy percent of the country’s handsets, they’re doing so without a lot of the Google polish we get elsewhere: no Google Play services, and no Google Play Store. And while plenty of alternative China-based app stores exist to give the nation’s smartphone users their software fix, that’s still a whole lot of access to users that Google’s missing out on. A couple months back we checked out reports suggesting that Google was finally about to figure out a way to work with China and find a way to bring it a version of the Play Store that complied with the country’s censorship practices. Now a new source suggests that this plan is still happening, but on a slightly different timetable than originally reported.
Instead of launching a Chinese Play Store this fall, Google may be working towards a launch sometime in the new year, likely after February but before summer.
The service would be fully distinct from the international Google Play Store, both in an effort to conform with censorship demands as well as data-storage rules.
While the Play Store would be the first component of this return to the Chinese market, Google would presumably follow that launch up with the introduction of additional services in the nation – though we don’t yet have a good sense for what might be next, or how far off its arrival might be.