A report out of everyone's favorite scoop pay-wall The Information has revealed that Google is still trying to launch the Play Store in China. This is... not surprising. However, The Information says Google is now trying to work with a domestic Chinese internet company called NetEase in order to get around some of the thorny issues presented when trying to operate as a Western company under Chinese laws and regulations.
However, they're just talks - there's no indication Google and NetEase have actually agreed to a partnership. And any Play Store that would launch in China would be heavily censored for content. The reason for reporting on this seemingly inconsequential bit of scuttlebutt is something in the way of a follow-up. Reuters had it on good authority that Google planned to launch the Play Store in China in 2016, but the year came and went without any update on the matter. Today's rumor from TI would seem to suggest whatever plans Google had for the previous year were scrapped in favor of this partnership model.
Unfortunately, the TI post doesn't give us anything beyond what I told you in the first paragraph. There's nothing about a launch timeframe, the nature of the partnership, or why Google's plans have so consistently fallen through (though my guess is because China). Maybe this time they'll finally do it? But, personally, I'm not holding my breath on this one.
NetEase has a history of partnering with Western tech companies to launch their products in China - the company operates a number of popular Blizzard titles in the country, as well as Minecraft.
- The Information