Google closed Motorola’s Shop4Apps store in China, arguing that “Chinese consumers now have many mobile app store alternatives where they can access an extensive inventory of local and international Android apps”.
Launched prior to its acquisition by Google, the Motorola store had gained some traction in the market, aided by the fact that it had been fully localised – including full Chinese language and payment support.
According to a statement published by Tech In Asia, Motorola said that “when Shop4Apps launched in 2010, our goal was to accelerate consumer demand for Android products and provide developers with a channel to promote and distribute Android apps on Motorola devices”.
However, in the interim a competitive Android app ecosystem has developed in China, leading to the exit. Consumers are being directed to an alternative store provided by Crossmo Technology.
While Motorola had previously identified China as one of its key target markets, Google has made a number of cuts in this market as part of its restructure of the struggling device maker.
And while Android (and variants spun-off from the open-source OS) have significant traction in the country, Google’s own products and services have often taken a back-seat, to be replaced by local alternatives.
At the GSMA Mobile Asia Expo last year, Leon Zhao, head of mobile for Google’s online partnerships group, noted a number of challenges associated with operating in China, including app piracy and issues related to business models.
Indeed, in the past Google has had significant struggles in the Chinese market, including a long dispute in 2010 over its core search activities in the country.