Even though China has blocked access to Google Play in the country, the app platform is still hoping to bring aboard more Chinese-made apps, and help them make money from international customers.
Google’s digital store will now support developers based in mainland China, who want to sell paid apps on the platform, the U.S. search giant said on Wednesday. This means that revenue generated from the apps can be transferred directly to the bank accounts of Chinese developers.
The announcement won’t bring any change for bigger Chinese companies, with offices in Hong Kong or in the U.S., where Google Play merchant support is already offered. But it will help small developers based in China, who were previously restricted from the platform.
In the past, these Chinese developers could still upload free apps to Google Play, but not paid apps, which required the appropriate address and banking account information.
Google isn’t saying when or if it will make a comeback in China. In 2010, the company partially pulled out of the market, following repeated disputes with the Chinese government. As a result, a version for mainland China of Google Play was never offered in the country.
But Wednesday’s move shows that the company still wants to taps the country’s developer base. Already, many of these developers are offering apps, such as games, on Apple’s App Store.
Chinese developers will, however, have a problem accessing Google Play from the country. In late May, China began blocking all Google Internet sites in the country, as part of a growing push to censor more foreign Internet services.
Google declined to comment on how developers would bypass China’s censors. But users wanting to visit Google sites from the country have typically bought subscriptions to virtual private network services or VPNs to access the Internet without filtering.