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App store could hit China as soon as February

BEIJING -- Google is reportedly considering stepping back into the Chinese market in short order with its app and content-streaming service, seeking to tap the world's largest Internet user base and catch up with competitors.

     The U.S. computing giant has been rumored to be working on a Chinese-language version of its Google Play store. Chinese media outlets now say that the service could launch as soon as February.

     Google pulled its web search and related services from China in the spring of 2010 over concerns including government censorship. Yet a number of other Internet-based content providers, including Amazon.com and Apple, are rapidly expanding operations in the country in the giant's absence. Re-establishing a presence in the Chinese market has likely become a necessity as Google looks to stay competitive.

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