Google's China policy could impact Android sales

A possible decision by Google to shut down its business operations in China could have a potentially major effect on its mobile business in the country, analysts said.

Earlier this week, Google said its China operations had suffered serious cyber security attacks, and attempts were made to hack into the GMail accounts of Chinese dissidents and human rights activists--actions the company said will force it to re-evaluate its business in the country. Thus, Google's Android platform for smartphones could take a hit if the company decides to pull out of China.

On one hand, sales of Android phones that have Google's brand and applications--such as GMail and Google Voice--could slow if the company retreats from China. On the other hand, there are several types of devices based on Android that don't have a distinctive Google presence, which might still sell well in the Chinese market.

Meanwhile, back in the United States, Google's Nexus One smartphone--billed as a "superphone" and available via Google's Web store--has not exactly caught fire since going on sale last week, according to mobile analytics firm Flurry. The company estimates Google has sold around 20,000 units of the device since it went on sale Jan. 5, based on mobile application use. The Nexus One is available for $179 with a T-Mobile USA contract and $529 unlocked.

For more:
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)
- see this WSJ blog post

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