(Reuters) – Google Inc plans to launch Google Play app store in China, The Information news website said, citing several people familiar with the matter.
The launch in China will give the company access to about half the users of its Android operating system, the report said.
The search engine giant exited China in 2010, citing repeated hacking attempts, potential loss of intellectual property and persistent censorship.
Some of Google’s web services remain blocked in China and the features will not be available in the foreseeable future, the report said.
Google last year discussed with the Chinese government about launching Google Play, the Information said.
Nevertheless, “it will be unclear until the last minute” whether the government will actually permit a launch.
Google is reportedly looking to launch in collaboration with a partner. The company has approached handset manufacturers Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp.
Google was not immediately available to comment.
(Reporting By Subrat Patnaik)