Android Devices On the Rise in China, But Stripped of Google Play Store

As China continues to expand its smartphone market, edging past the U.S. for the title of world’s largest, “the rise of the Android mobile operating system should be a huge success story for Google, which developed and maintains Android,” writes Technology Review. However, even as shipments of the more affordable Android devices are on the rise in China, it’s often overlooked “how little Google itself is benefiting from Android’s growth in China,” according to the article.

That’s because most Android devices sold in China have been stripped of Google’s ad-supported apps and services. It’s also been stripped of its Google Play store, which sells apps, music, books and video.

Google and China have a rocky relationship, which explains why the country has chosen to install its Android devices with another search engine. In 2010, Google took its search business out of the country in order to take a stand against government censorship. “Google also accused the Chinese government of hacking into the company’s servers,” reports Technology Review.

“Now it’s clear that Google is paying a price for leaving the country just as the mobile market took off,” suggests the article. “Today, it’s barely a factor for Chinese consumers who use mobile phones.”

Chinese companies like Baidu are jumping in to fill the Google void. But Google will continue trying to find a way back into China’s growing mobile market because “China is too important for Google’s business,” concludes the article.

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