SHANGHAI, March 5 Google Inc has too
much control over China's smartphone industry via its Android
mobile operating system and has discriminated against some local
firms, the technology ministry said in a white paper.
The white paper, authored by the research arm of China's
Ministry of Industry and
"Our country's mobile operating system research and
development is too dependent on Android," the paper, posted
online on Friday but carried by local media on Tuesday, said.
"While the Android system is open source, the core
technology and technology roadmap is strictly controlled by
The paper said Google had discriminated against some Chinese
companies developing their operating systems by delaying the
sharing of codes. Google had also used commercial agreements to
restrain the business development of mobile devices of these
companies, it added.
A Google spokesman in China declined to comment.
The ministry did not recommend any specific policies,
regulatory actions or other measures.
Analysts said the white paper, which lauded Chinese
companies such as Baidu Inc, Alibaba Group
and Huawei Technologies for creating their own systems,
could be a signal to the industry that regulations against
Android are on the horizon.
"In China, regulators regulate regularly especially where
they can position the regulations as helping out domestic
companies," Duncan Clark, chairman of technology consultancy
BDA, said in an email to Reuters.
"Ironically, Android's success has underpinned a lot of the
growth in China smartphone vendors in recent years," Clark said.
Home-grown companies had failed previously in China's market for
simple handsets, he said, due to weakness in software and
South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the
world's largest smartphone maker, uses the Android system, as do
Chinese manufacturers Huawei and ZTE Corp.
Last September, the launch of a smartphone between Acer Inc
and a unit of Alibaba Group was cancelled due to what
Alibaba said was pressure from Google on the Taiwanese group.
Representatives for Acer and Google declined to comment on the
matter at that time.
Technology research firm IDC has estimated that China
surpassed the United States as the world's biggest smartphone
market in 2012, accounting for 26.5 percent of all smartphones
In 2010, Google conducted a partial pullout from China on
the basis of censorship and after it suffered a serious hacking
episode that the company said emanated from China. Since then,
Google's search market share in China has fallen from almost 30
percent to 15 percent at the end of 2012. Android has been
Google's bright spot in China.
In the third quarter last year, Android accounted for 90
percent of all mobile operating systems in China while Apple
Inc's iOS system was at just 4.2 percent.