Google co-founder Brin says some Alphabet business units may soon return to China

Search giant has been blocked on mainland for years but may enjoy more leverage as separate units can operate with greater autonomy in wake of restructuring

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 October, 2015, 11:36am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 October, 2015, 11:36am

Alphabet Inc.’s Google is attempting to return to China, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

The company’s recent restructuring earlier this month would allow different business units to operate autonomously, he said.

“Each Alphabet business can make its own decisions on which countries to operate in,” he told the Wall Street Journal.

“We already do quite a lot of business in China, although it has not been an easy country for us.”

Google pulled out of China in 2010 amid a censorship feud with Beijing over search results, but not before a number of users of its Gmail service were subjected to cyberattacks.

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Despite not having an office on the mainland China, Google still sells ads to Chinese companies that are looking to advertise internationally.

Social media giants Facebook and Twitter operate in a similar way. They have both opened offices in Hong Kong to cater to Chinese clients who wish to advertise on their respective platforms.

Pundits have speculated that Google wants to launch a special version of Google Play in China in the near future, after several internet users found signals from Google coming from servers in Beijing and Shanghai.

A Chinese technology site also reported that Google was busy registering Chinese domains like googleplaychinaedition.com and googlechinaedition.com - hinting at its ambitions.

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Following the establishment of Alphabet, Google seems to have several plans in the works. One of these would see it merge its Chrome operating system for personal computers with its mobile Android OS, the Journal reported.

Google has also invested over US$60 million in China-based Mobvoi, a partner of Android Wear that has provided the latter with Chinese voice searches in the past.

Google announced its third-quarter earnings last week showing 13 per cent revenue growth and a 45 per cent jump in net income year-on-year, beating analysts’ estimates.