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Google huddles with Tencent on bringing cloud to China

Employees outside Tencent headquarters in Shenzhen, China on Chinese New Year. Photo: VCG via Getty Images

Google is in talks with major Chinese companies Tencent and Inspur to bring its cloud business to China, Bloomberg reports.

The big picture: Google is eager to tap into the Chinese market. Partnering with China's domestic champions would lock in powerful allies if Google has to lobby the Chinese government to let it operate in the country.

The details: China requires data to be stored within the country, and Google does not have data centers there, so it needs local partners to bring Drive and other cloud services to Chinese consumers. Bloomberg reports that talks with Chinese companies have been ongoing since early 2018.

What's happening:

  • Google is "building a cloud data center region in Hong Kong this year and opened an artificial intelligence research center in Beijing in January," per Bloomberg.
  • The Intercept reported on Wednesday that Google has been working on a censored search engine for the Chinese market, which grabbed the attention of Google employees and lawmakers alike.
  • Google is also working on a news-aggregation app with censorship capabilities for China, reports The Information, citing sources familiar with the project.

Yes, but: The U.S. and China are engaged in a quickly-escalating trade war that could have consequences for any potential Google deals.

Go deeper: The Atlantic reports on why Google left China — and why it's heading back.