Google to relaunch map service in China: Nikkei

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google will relaunch its map service in China after an eight-year absence, Nikkei reported on Monday.

The company has set up a China-specific version of the Google Maps website and introduced a map app for Chinese iPhones, Nikkei said.

When users of the app attempt to use its navigation features, they are automatically transferred to an app from AutoNavi, a mapping company owned by Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group Holding (BABA.N), Nikkei said.

This comes after Google joined an investment in Chinese live-stream mobile game platform Chushou earlier this month, as the company eyes new inroads to China, where its search engine is blocked.

Google’s map service has not been available in China since the company largely pulled its services out of the country in 2010 after refusing to continue self-censoring its search results. Since then, it has maintained a limited presence in the world’s biggest smartphone market.

Reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru; Editing by Bill Trott

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