Google is piecing together a strategy for China to ensure that it doesn’t miss out on the growth of technology in the world’s largest country, according to a Techcrunch report.
It’s been months in the making through a series of gradual plays, but further evidence of those plans comes today via a product launch, it said.
The report said that the Files Go — a file manager for Android devices released last year — has made its way to China. Not a huge launch, for sure, but the mechanisms behind it provide insight into how Google may be thinking about the country, where it has been absent since 2010 after redirecting its Chinese search service to Hong Kong in the face of government pressure.
For Files Go, Google is taking a partner-led approach to distribution because the Google Play Store does not operate in China.
The company is working with Tencent, Huawei, Xiaomi and Baidu, each of which will stock the app in their independent app stores, which are among the country’s most prominent third-party stores.
Let that sink in a little: the creator of Android is using third-party Android app stores to distribute one of its products.
On the outside that’s quite the scenario, but in China it makes perfect sense.
There’s been regular media speculation in recent weeks about Google’s desire to return to China which, during its absence, has become the largest single market for smartphone users, and the country with the most app downloads and highest app revenue per year.
Mostly the rumors have centered around audacious strategies such as the return of the Google Play Store or the restoration of Google’s Chinese search business, both of which would mean complying with demands from the Chinese government.