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It’s no secret that Android is winning the smartphone wars by a landslide — and the home of the world’s biggest smartphone market is no exception. But it seems the Chinese government is not enthused by the existence of such a large number of mobile phones controlled by Google within its boundaries, saying it is stunting mobile development in the country.
A report released by the state’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and translated by Reuters said that China has the potential to develop its own operating system (OS) but the “country’s mobile operating system research and development is too dependent on Android.”
It cited stats from research company Gartner that suggest Android held 72% of China’s smartphone marketshare in the third quarter of last year — although some estimations suggest it may be the OS powering as much as 90% of China’s smartphones.
“While the Android system is open source, the core technology and technology roadmap is strictly controlled by Google,” the white paper said. It also suggested that Chinese companies have been disadvantaged as Google had withheld access to its code and used its agreements to limit their potential commercial growth.
Despite this, Chinese manufacturers are gaining marketshare on the back of Android: Huawei was the third most popular smartphone manufacturer worldwide (after Samsung and Apple) at the end of 2012, shipping 27.2-million smartphones to end users — a 73.8% increase from the previous year. China’s ZTE is growing its footprint too, securing an estimated 4% of total worldwide mobile market share last year, and taking fourth spot after Samsung, Nokia and Apple.
The report doesn’t say what the government plans to do about Google’s monopoly, but this type of negative sentiment could be of concern to Google — after all, China recently overtook the US as the world’s biggest market for Android and iOS devices and the MIIT is concerned with regulating everything from the internet to the software industry and creating an industrial development strategy in the country.
Google hasn’t had the best time in China: it largely pulled out of the country in 2010 after saying it was not willing to censor its search content and sites like YouTube, Gmail and Google+ are currently blocked by the Great Firewall.