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Google services set for 'return' to China

Google is planning to expand its presence in China, Eric Schmidt, chairman of the search giant's holding company, has said.

Google search left the Chinese mainland in 2010, after the company said it would no longer self-censor results.

It also accused the Chinese government of being behind a cyber-attack on it and many other tech companies.

Mr Schmidt echoed comments by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who said last week some services would return.

During a speech at the Tech Crunch Beijing conference, Mr Schmidt said Google had a lot of partners in China and was in regular contact with the country's government about its presence and services.

"The interesting thing is that Google never left China," he said.

Its presence in the country helped it maintain contact with Chinese companies keen to advertise on Google's services outside the country, Mr Schmidt said.

He did not provide details of what Google planned to expand or launch on the Chinese mainland.

However, industry watchers said it was likely that a Chinese version of Google's Android Play store for apps would be one of the first.

China is a key market for many companies because of its large population and its appetite for hi-tech goods.

Mr Brin said last week that Google's recent re-structuring had given the company's units more independence, which might mean some launch in China before others.

Each Alphabet business could now make its own decision about where it operated, he told the Wall Street Journal.

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