Google ponders opening Play Store in China, starts accepting apps from Chinese developers

Android Lollipop Statue

Up until now, Chinese app developers faced a tough battle if they wanted to see their apps on the Google Play Store. Now, Google is opening up its doors to Chinese developers and will allow them to submit free and paid apps directly to the Play Store. As supported merchants, Chinese developers can earn money each time their apps are downloaded from the Google’s app store around the world.

While this is great news for Chinese app makers, there’s still one major problem: There isn’t a Google Play Store in China. Android fans in North America and Europe are accustomed to seeing the Play Store on their brand-new smartphones and tablets right out of the box. In China, this isn’t the case. As such, many Android-based smartphones from China doesn’t have the official Google app suite or access to the company’s app store.

Chinese smartphone manufacturers like Xiaomi work around the problem by offering their own app stores, and customizing Android to suit users’ needs. Google’s complicated relationship with China, privacy concerns, and other issues have impeded the process and resulted in the absence of Google apps and the Play Store in the country.

However, a recent report from the Information hints that Google is seriously considering opening a Play Store in China. Based on the report, Google would offer the option to select device manufacturers who plan to sell their smartphones and tablets in China. The Play Store may look slightly different and some apps may still be unavailable. Additionally, Chinese users may not be required to sign into the Play Store with a Gmail account.

It’s unknown when the Play Store will arrive in China, but Google’s increased openness to the country’s developers may signal the coming of major changes up ahead.