China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has issued a white paper that suggests Google exercises too much control over the smartphone industry inside China. The objection is specifically directed against Google because while the Ministry admits that “the Android system is open source” and thus Chinese operators and manufacturers are more or less free to do as they wish with the tech, “the core technology and technology roadmap is strictly controlled by Google.” Furthermore Google may have discriminated against local companies as it pursued its own agenda. China is, the Ministry asserts, more than capable of manufacturing its own open source operating systems, with Baidu, Alibaba, and Huawei cited as great examples of home-grown tech.
Google partially withdrew from mainstream operations in China some years ago in protest over China’s censorial demands that Google adjust its search results for Chinese citizens. China is one of the world’s biggest manufacturing centers for smartphone tech of all stripes from Android phones through to Apple’s iDevices, and Apple has identified that it plans to expand rapidly into the Chinese market–indeed, this may be behind rumors it’s working on a cheaper iPhone. Separately China has recently been criticized for allegedly hacking top-rank U.S. companies for what’s assumed to be IP theft.