(Yicai Global) Jan. 17 -- Google Maps has returned to China after eight years of absence for Chinese users who now can visit its website easily. Google Maps website can be loaded smoothly in either two-dimensional mode or satellite mode, and iPhone users can access Google Maps through their Safari web browser.
The US tech giant Alphabet Inc., which owns Google, has set up a China-specific version of the Google Maps website and introduced an iPhone map app for China. Google's web mapping services Google Maps is widely used worldwide.
Google stopped providing search engine service to users in the Chinese mainland in March 2010 and moved its operations to China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Since then, several businesses of Google have withdrawn from the Chinese market. Its eight-year absence marked a remarkable development era for the Chinese mobile internet and smart terminal equipment market.
Google started to consider returning to the Chinese market in recent years. Google will set up an artificial intelligence and machine learning center in Beijing, media reported last September. The tech giant started a recruitment campaign for positions of machine learning researcher and technical director as well as product manager for Cloud machine learning.
Google Play, Google's app store for Android operating system users, reopened in partial areas of China while it started to introduce TensorFlow, a developer platform for the AI era, in the country.
Google led a financing round of a Chinese mobile game livestreaming platform, Chushou.tv, with an investment of USD120 million early this month, which marked the second time for Google to heavily invest in a Chinese startup after its funding of Beijing-based AI firm Mobvoi.