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Google May Launch Google Play App Store In China

Five years after withdrawing itself, Google is now working on reestablishing its presence in the Chinese market with the launch of the Google Play app store in Feb. 2016.

In compliance with the regulatory requirements of the Chinese government, the app store will be set up specifically for China, with all its data centers located there, and will not be linked to the international version of Google Play, sources told Reuters.

The move comes after Google withdrew its presence from China in 2010 after it refused to comply with heavy regulations imposed by the Chinese government, including self-censoring its results. However, with other tech companies like Apple raking in as much as $58.7 billion in revenue last year, China seems to be too big and lucrative of a market to ignore.

To power its app store, Google is reportedly looking into using Alipay, the payments product of Alibaba’s financial arm, Ant Financial Services.

As the company works on regaining its lost presence after it essentially gave up its video streaming and search market to other Chinese companies, it is also taking other steps to establish itself.

Last month, the company announced a minority stake in Mobvoi, a Beijing-based artificial intelligence company, contributing to a $75 million fundraising round, according to Reuters.

While it remains unclear what Google’s next step will be, it sure looks like an uphill battle as most of its products have been built around search capabilities.

“How do you use YouTube without search? Everything they’ve got hinges on search. In the end, if they can’t get search in everything, it is going to be even more crippled than it already is,” said technology analyst Rob Enderle in an interview with Reuters.

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