Reported Reuters reported on Wednesday, quoting two people familiar with the matter, that China is preparing to launch an antitrust investigation with a company Google will look into allegations that it has capitalized on the dominance of the Android mobile operating system to stifle competition.
The two sources added that the case was proposed by Huawei last year and submitted by the country’s largest market regulator to the Antitrust Committee of the State Council. for review.
Reuters quoted one of the sources as saying that the decision to proceed with an official investigation may come as soon as next October, and it could be affected by the state of China’s relationship with the United States.
The possible investigation follows a series of measures taken by the US President (Donald Trump) administration to reinstate the work of Chinese technology companies, under the pretext of national security risks.
This included placing Huawei on its commercial blacklist and threatening to take similar action against the Chinese chip maker SMIC, and it asked ByteDance, which owns the short video app TikTok, to withdraw it from the United States.
The investigation also comes as China embarks on a major renewal of antitrust laws with the proposed amendments, including: a significant increase in the maximum fines and expanded standards to judge the company’s control of the market.
A Reuters source said: The potential investigation will also look into accusations that Google’s position in the market could cause “serious harm” to Chinese companies, such as Huawei, as the loss of the American tech giant’s support for Android-based operating systems would result in loss of confidence and revenue.
The US trade blacklist prevents Google from providing technical support for new Huawei phones and accessing Google Mobile Services, the developer service group on which most Android apps are based.
Google obtained a temporary license that exempted it from the ban on Huawei, but it expired in August.
Reuters indicated that it was not immediately clear which Google services the potential investigation would focus on. Most Chinese smartphone sellers use an open source version of Android with alternatives to Google services on their local phones. Google’s search engine and email service, along with the company’s other services, have been banned in China for years.