Skip to main content

Lenovo mobile chief spills the beans on Google’s plans for China

google scholar china sign post hq headquarters hong kong
李 清东/
Google left China in 2010 due to increased government censorship, but rumors claim it wants to return with Google Play services. That rumor has just been verified by Lenovo’s head of mobile, Chen Xudong, who said Google is on track to launch Play services this year.

While not a verification directly from Google, it is worth just as much. Lenovo will almost certainly be a launch partner for Play services, since it works with Google on Android in countries outside of China.

Xudong did not say when Google plans to launch Play services, the closest indication being sometime this year. He also didn’t say which services will be available at launch — we would be surprised to see all of Google’s services available in China straight away, given the privacy concerns.

We also don’t know if manufacturers will be given the choice between Play services and third-party app stores, or if Google will force them to adhere to the same policies as manufacturers outside of China.

It is an interesting turn of events, considering that in 2014 China removed Docs, Play, and Gmail from the country. No apology has been forthcoming for the hacking scandal in 2010 either, which led to a U.S. investigation into China hacking services for private information.

Huawei appears to be the moderator for talks between Google and China, though this has not been confirmed. When Google announced Huawei would build the Nexus 6P, rumors suggested in return that Huawei opened communications with China.

As China continues to add more mobile and Internet users, Western companies are beginning to change their views on censorship. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg tried for all of 2015 to woo the Chinese government, to no avail, and Google appears to be taking a similar route to receive the government’s approval.

David Curry
Former Digital Trends Contributor
David has been writing about technology for several years, following the latest trends and covering the largest events. He is…
How Google plans to improve video capturing on Snapchat, Instagram
OnePlus 10 Pro and Oppo Find X3 Pro camera app.

At Google I/O 2022, Google announced a host of new features that will improve how efficiently third-party apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, and others use the camera and video functions on Android smartphones. The tech giant is also making significant changes to the camera functionality on Android 13 to ensure the output images replicate the preview you see before capturing that image.

Google has a significant edge over competitors when it comes to computational photography. Besides leading with its Pixel line of smartphones that extensively use algorithmic enhancements to capture images with a quality that is often likened to professional cameras like DSLRs, Google, as the creator and sustainer of Android, also provides a standard suite of tools to allow seamless integration between software features and the camera hardware on a device.

Read more
Google Play improves privacy, payments, and subscriptions 
Person holding Samsung Galaxy smartphone showing Google Play Store.

Google is introducing several new features that will help game and app developers to engage and grow their audience while further improving privacy and security.

At this year’s Google I/O conference, the Google Play team is focusing on new initiatives to create an even safer app ecosystem for users and developers alike while also adding new tools for developers. These include new custom store listing options, increased flexibility in pricing models for in-app subscriptions, and more. The Google Play team outlined these new initiatives during its What’s New in Google Play session at Google I/O 2022.

Read more
Google faces lawsuit over controversial Play Store change
Google Play Store on the OnePlus Nord 2.

Google has started requiring all Android apps sold in the Play Store that use in-app payments to use Google's Play Store billing system and nothing else -- or leave the store. This hasn't gone down well with the Match Group, creator of dating services including Tinder and the eponymous Match. The company is now suing Google over monopolistic and anti-competitive actions, alleging irreparable harm to Match's business and calling the move to remove its app a "death knell threat" to their business.

Google had previously allowed Match's apps, including Tinder, to opt out of using the Play Store's billing system, but the company has changed its mind in recent months. Rather, it will be requiring all apps in the Play Store which support in-app Payments to use Google's Play billing system without the option of a third-party payments processor. This will exclude apps that sell physical goods like Uber Eats and Amazon, but ensnare those which sell digital goods like Amazon's Audible and Kindle apps. For Match, which had previously been allowed to run its own payment system side-by-side with Google's, the move comes as a slap in the face.

Read more