Google Play still unavailable in China, but merchant support now is

20 Nov 2014

Android app developers in China rejoice, Google Play has announced a service that allows you to sell your projects abroad.

Despite Google Play still being unavailable in the massive country, these steps open the door for developers to profit on the growth in smartphones around the world.

It’s been a busy year for Google Play, with 60 new countries given access to merchant procedures, including Lebanon, Jordan, Oman, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Qatar and Venezuela most recently.

“As part of that continued effort, we’re excited to announce merchant support in China, enabling local developers to export and sell their apps to Google Play users in more than 130 countries,” says the company.

“Chinese developers can now offer both free and paid applications through various monetisation models, including in-app purchasing and subscriptions.”

This latest development comes after reports that Google Play was lined up for a full release in China. Google says revenue generated on Google Play will be deposited directly into developers’ Chinese bank accounts via USD wire transfers.

Android phones sold in China don’t come with Google Play preloaded on them, as they do almost everywhere else in the world.

Google’s relationship with China is a strange one. Clearly a market of huge interest to the tech giant, the country is reportedly home to more than half of the 1bn Android users worldwide, according to VentureBeat

Google withdrew its search engine from China at the start of the decade amid a hacking story that eventually saw US officials criticise the Asian state, and allegedly led to closer links between Google and the US National Security Agency

This latest development shows Google still sees China as a key market, but it’s unclear what the next development will be.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic