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Google in China Cloud Talks With Tencent, Others

The building housing the Google Inc. China headquarters stands in Beijing, China.The building housing the Google Inc. China headquarters stands in Beijing, China.

Google wants to get back into China, and is laying the groundwork for a key part of the initiative: bringing its cloud business to the world’s second-largest economy.

The Internet giant is in talks with Tencent Holdings Ltd., Inspur Group and other Chinese companies to offer Google cloud services in the mainland, according to people familiar with the discussions. They asked not to be identified discussing private matters, Bloomberg reported.

The talks began in early 2018 and Google narrowed partnership candidates to three firms in late March, according to one of the people. Trade tensions between China and the US now loom over the effort. It is unclear if the plans will proceed, this person said.

The goal is to run Google Internet-based services—such as Drive and Docs—via the domestic data centers and servers of Chinese providers, similar to the way other US cloud companies access that market. In most of the rest of the world, Google Cloud rents computing power and storage over the Internet, and sells a collection of workplace productivity apps called G Suite that are run on its own data centers. China requires digital information to be stored in the country and Google has no data centers in the mainland, so it needs partnerships with local players.

 Global Cloud

Google Cloud chief Diane Greene said last week that she wants the business to “be a global cloud,” but declined to comment specifically about China. Still, the company is seeking a Shanghai-based business development manager for its cloud business. The job posting lists “experience in, and knowledge of, the Chinese market” as a preferred qualification.

A Google Cloud spokesman declined to comment. Inspur and Jane Yip, a Tencent spokeswoman, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday.

A tie-up with large Chinese tech firms, like Tencent and Inspur, a major cloud and server provider, would also give Google powerful allies as it attempts a broader return to mainland China, where it pulled its search engine in 2010 over censorship concerns.

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