Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chinese Ministry Worried About Android's Dominance

Two years ago in the post "Google's Problems in China: Perceptions of a Chinese Internet User in Guiyang", I shared the thoughts of a young Chinese woman to provide another perspective on Google's claim that difficulties in using Gmail in China were due to a government blockage. She didn't believe Google's apparent problems with the Chinese government could be solely attributed to its stance on censorship, as many thought at the time, but that instead they were primarily the result of Google "taking the profits" of domestic companies.

Since then, one bright spot for Google in China has been the immense popularity of the Android mobile operating system. As reported by Reuters, the Chinese government has taken notice:
Google Inc has too much control over China's smartphone industry via its Android mobile operating system and has discriminated against some local firms, the technology ministry said in a white paper...

Analysts said the white paper, which lauded Chinese companies such as Baidu Inc, Alibaba Group and Huawei Technologies for creating their own systems, could be a signal to the industry that regulations against Android are on the horizon.
The article notes that Android has played a valuable role in the growth of China smartphone vendors. Due to this and Google's earlier challenges, it's easy to see irony in Google now being charged with discrimination in China.

But is the white paper a surprise? In a tweet about the article, Beijing-based investor/advisor/writer Bill Bishop wrote "Haha you knew this was coming."

I suspect the young woman in Guizhou would agree.

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