Google yesterday gave the strongest hint yet that it plans to stay in China, although the firm warned that it will soon begin offering uncensored results on its Chinese site.
Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said during a Q4 2009 earnings call that the web giant is "quite committed to being in China ", but that it would like to remain there on "somewhat different terms than we have been".
Schmidt also confirmed that, although Google is still abiding by Chinese laws and providing censored search results, this will change in a "reasonably short time from now".
The news comes as Motorola yesterday distanced itself from Google in the region by announcing its own Chinese app store for Android applications, and a tie-up with Baidu, China's largest search engine.
Just a day earlier, Google was forced to postpone the launch of a new Motorola Android phone in China, most likely because of the continued fallout from the revelation that it may pull its operations in the area.
While this probably happened too recently to influence Motorola's new app store and Baidu announcement, it points to a growing desire on the part of handset makers to broaden their options in case Google withdraws from the country.
Motorola said that the new Shop4Apps store will be live in the Chinese new year.
Christy Wyatt, corporate vice president of software and services for Motorola mobile devices, claimed that the ability to offer Shop4Apps and a choice in search highlighted the openness of the Android platform.
"We are working closely with our carrier partners in China, and with ecosystem partners like Baidu, to provide consumers with a full suite of services including search, email and maps for our newest China smartphones," she said.
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