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Google Maps returns to China after 8 years of absence

China's Five-star Red Flag, Google Maps returns to China mid-January 2018
China's Five-star Red Flag
Thanks to a partnership with Alibaba-owned AutoNavi, the Google Maps service returns to China, but with a few feature limitations needed to get the approval of the local government.

Google might have some problems when it comes to China, but they seem to take this market very seriously these days, even if this involves some compromises. Google Maps has been away since 2010, but now this service finally comes back to China. 

According to a report by The Nikkei Asian Review, the return of Google Maps happened thanks to Alibaba's AutoNavi, which provides navigation data for both the Maps website and the iOS app. The same source highlights that the main reason for using AutoNavi is Google's need to comply with the requirements of the Chinese government, widely known to be quite restrictive when allowing products and services from US corporations such as Apple or Microsoft to enter the local market.

Back in 2017, Google Translate returned to smartphones in China. Two years before that, Google invested in Chushou, a live streaming mobile platform for gamers. Google Play Services might also return to the area thanks to one or more partnerships with local companies, but there is nothing official yet.

Entering China as an US-based company is quite tough, especially when this involves censorship of the data you provide to the rest of the world freely. Thankfully for Google, China's restrictive regime is nothing compared to the North Korean madness.


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Codrut Nistor, 2018-01-16 (Update: 2018-01-16)