According to a new report from The Information, Google is currently planning to re-enter the Chinese market. One of the methods in which Google is planning to do this is apparently with a new version of the Play Store made especially for the Chinese market.
While there’s reason enough for Google to do this just due to the sheer number of users in the country, they may also be trying to do this to slow down the rapid fragmentation problems the country has with Android devices. They may begin offering incentives to OEMs in China to keep their phones up to date and ensure that they ship with the latest software. With Google Play (and obviously Google Play Services) entering the country, this could certainly prove to be a good method of slowing down fragmentation.
With this special version of Google Play, Google would obey China’s censorship laws and block content that the government there finds objectionable. That’s a completely different stance then the company had a few years ago when they moved their workforce out of the country and moved their domain to Hong Kong. To win over Chinese developers, Google would offer the same 70% cut that the rest of the world currently gets. That’s quite a bit more than most Chinese app markets offer.
The Information also notes that this new special version of the Play Store may only work on devices running Android M and that have been approved to be sold in mainland China.
The report also claims that Google is planning to bring Android Wear into the country as well. This is especially notable since Android Wear is a system that is far more locked down than Android itself.
It’s unclear when or if this will all happen, but according to the report it seems we’ll see Android Wear support first, followed by the special Play Store.