China (un)Blocks Android Market [Update]

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[Update: Shortly after the publication of this story Google’s Android Market was once again accessible in China. The original story below has not modified. - Editor]

China has blocked Google’s Android Market using the so-called Great Firewall of China, according to a report originating from Blocked In China, a site that simply tests and tracks websites that are blocked in Beijing, Shenzen, Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang Province, and Yunnan Province. The move is merely the latest in a running battle between the Chinese government, which wants to control all information in China, and Google, whose advertising and search business model depends on the free flow of information.

Android Market Banned in China

Android Market Banned in China

As of this writing, no one appears to know why China blocked Android Market, the online store for Android apps operated by Google. It could be that Google wouldn’t pull an app the government wanted pulled, or it could be related to the ongoing tiff started when Google refused to censor its search results in China, and instead rerouted Chinese visitors to its search engine to the un-censored Hong Kong version of its site.

At the same time, English-language Chinese gadget site M.I.C. Gadget tossed out speculation that China may be trying to give a leg up to local Android app stores, though there’s no indication that it has tried to similarly block Apple’s App Store or the online download services for other platforms.

As it is, Android devices sold through state owned carriers don’t come with Android Market preloaded in the first place. In its place are whatever download service is operated by that carrier, leaving users to discover Google’s Android Market and other competitors on their own.

Google has struggled in China, where the Chinese government has stacked the deck in favor of those companies that will play ball with its censorship and control requirements. Search market share leader Baidu, for instance, is rumored to have forked Google’s own Android OS to use for its own smartphone operating system, taking all the work that Google has done on the OS while leaving out all of Google’s services and would-be control over the platform (similar to what Amazon has done for its Kindle Fire tablet).

With no official word on the blockage, it’s not known if this is a temporary issue for Android users in China or a new roadblock for the company in the world’s largest mobile market.

Comments

BlockedInChina

Android Market is now actually back online in China… http://www.blockedinchina.net/?siteurl=market.android.com

Google claims it was a technical error…

Bryan Chaffin

Thanks for the note. I updated the title and added information about the site being once again accessible.

RonMacGuy

I was just about to post how lucky the Chinese people were, but never mind now…

wink

naomiB

In the global marketplace, China is a powerhouse and an enigma. The growing industry in China is tech-heavy, and the development of the mobile industry implies that. One tracking service has measured the expansion of applications in China and has found that app usage in that country alone has grown by over 800 percent. App usage in China growing by leaps and bounds. Apps are growing because of the number of available phones is growing and the phones running Android are going down in price. The version of Android may not be the latest, which can be frustrating to some app programmers, but it also brings the platform into more hands. Lower entry costs and wider availability are putting smartphones into more people?s hands.

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