China: No plans to limit Android access

The Chinese government said it has no plans to block telecom firms' access to Google's Android platform, so long as Google follows local regulations--an apparent effort to cool tensions between Google and China.

Google's plans for China, including Android, have been thrown into uncertainty since the search giant revealed earlier this month that it had been the target of a cyber attack it said emanated from China. Since then, ties between the United States and China have grown strained over the issue. Further, last week Google delayed the launch of two Android phones--one made by Motorola and another by Samsung--which were scheduled to launch with China Unicom.

"I think there should be no limit on the use of any system as long as it complies with regulations in China, it has sound negotiations and cooperation with telecom operators and obeys relevant rules and requirement," Zhu Hongren, a spokesman for China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, told a news conference yesterday. "The Chinese telecommunication market is an open market."

It is unclear what exactly that means though, since many Google phones come pre-loaded with applications such as Google's search engine and email program. If those applications were blocked, or if Google decided to leave China, sales of phones with those applications might suffer. The Chinese spokesman did not specifically address the prospects for Google services.

In the wake of Google's revelation, Android licensees have taken different approaches to handling their Android plans. Sony Ericsson has said the Chinese launch of its first Android phone, the Xperia X10, will go ahead as planned later this year. Meanwhile, Motorola said it would use China's Baidu Internet search engine, or other search engines, instead of Google's, and that it would open its own Android application storefront, called Shop4Apps--signaling the company's plans to move forward without Google if necessary.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)

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