While Google’s PC search market share may be hovering below 5 percent, Android is the overwhelmingly dominant smartphone operating system in the world’s largest mobile market. As a result China may be preparing to take some sort of regulatory action against it.
According to a Reuters report the Chinese government released a white paper, through its state-controlled China Academy of Telecommunication Research, that expresses concern about Android’s domestic market share.
According to figures cited by Reuters Android is on about 90 percent of Chinese smartphones, while iOS has less than 5 percent of the market (but see charts below). StatCounter shows something different and a sharp, 20 point drop in Android’s Chinese share since January with iOS at 15 percent and “unknown” at 14 percent.
“While the Android system is open source, the core technology and technology roadmap is strictly controlled by Google,” is a quote reproduced in the Reuters article. However no specific steps or regulatory actions against Android are outlined in the report. China experts see the report as a precursor to some sort of regulation.
China’s mobile market is roughly three times the total US population.
Chinese e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba (still partly owned by Yahoo) has created its own “forked” (non-standard) version of Android, which Google blocked Acer from using. Google won’t allow hardware makers to use non-standard versions of Android and remain in the “open handset alliance.” This may be something that China goes after.
Source: comScore (August, 2012), IPSOS (April, 2012)
Three years ago the Chinese government hacked Gmail seeking access to political activists’ email communications, which is what started the whole Google-China (“we’re in/we’re out”) drama that continues to play out today in various forms.