Google has reportedly been working hard to reboot its business in China, after the ad giant walked away from the country following a censorship spat with Beijing in 2010.
The Sundar Pichai-run company apparently hopes to return to the People's Republic armed with mobile services that suit the censorship sensibility of the Chinese government – something that co-founder Sergey Brin may have bulked at five years ago.
But then, five years is a long time on the internet.
According to The Information, citing anonymous sources, Mountain View has been developing a special version of its Google Play app store for the Chinese market. Google wants to sell its Android devices in the country, including wearable gizmos.
Google very publicly fell out with China five years ago, after it announced in early 2010 that Chinese hackers had stolen unspecified intellectual property from the company's internal systems.
It claimed at the time that "a primary motive" of the attacks was to gain access to the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.
Not long after that, Google confirmed it would stop censoring search results in China.
Later in 2010, talks with Beijing broke down and Google shuttered Google.cn. It redirected visitors to its Hong-Kong-based search engine, Google.com.hk, where it promised to provide uncensored search results in simplified Chinese.
The story didn't end there, however: the Chinese government said it was unhappy with the rerouting tactic and threatened to tear up the multinational's licence in the country.
Google then killed the automatic redirects and advised visitors simply to search on the Hong Kong site. In effect, it had outsourced censorship of its search engine to China.
The Information added in its report that Google hoped to secure Beijing approval for its tailored Play store as early as this autumn. ®