Officials: China is 'too dependent on Android'

That's the word from the China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which complained that the core Android technology is "strictly controlled by Google."

Watch out, Google: Android is under scrutiny in China.

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology today released a white paper that takes aim at Google's Android operating system. The ministry said that Android's popularity has caused the country to become "too dependent" on the operating system. And although other companies have tried to build on top of Android, the ministry complained that the operating system's "core technology and technology road map is strictly controlled by Google."

Reuters was first to obtain the white paper and report on it.

Android's popularity is growing in leaps and bounds. In the fourth quarter, the operating system landed 70.1 percent of the smartphone market share worldwide , easily outpacing iOS at 21 percent. A key reason for Android's success is China.

In December, market researcher Informa announced that worldwide Android shipments in 2012 would hit 461 million units. One-third of all Android devices shipped were sent to China . Informa also said that Android is running on two-thirds of all smartphones in China.

That the ministry has taken issue with Android could spell trouble for Google. The report didn't propose any regulations on Android or request for changes, but China has in the past placed onerous terms on popular companies.

Google knows something about that. As the company's search platform was soaring in China, the government requested that it censor search results. After a long-fought battle that saw Google censor some results for a period of time, the company decided to move its operation to Hong Kong. Baidu, its chief competitor in China, is the dominant search platform in that country.

Although there's currently no major platform, aside from iOS, that's a possible threat to Android, the ministry pointed to Baidu's own Android alternative as the right step forward. Whether China will officially throw its support behind that operating system, however, remains to be seen.

CNET has contacted Google for comment on the ministry's report. We will update this story when we have more information.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.


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