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January 19, 2018updated 09 Feb 2023 8:22am

Google eyes Chinese market with Tencent patent deal

This move is set to grant Google access to the Chinese market, a vast and untapped target that Tencent can connect the American giant to.

By Tom Ball

Google and Tencent have signed a deal in which the two organisations have agreed to cross-license patents, allowing Google to break into the Chinese market.

Cross-licensing is a contract that gives the parties involved the ability to grant rights to their intellectual property to each other, and in this case the deal will apply to a number of products. Details regarding financial arrangements have no yet been shared by either party.

Tencent has a great deal of influence in China as the company responsible for the country’s top messaging app, WeChat. Its wide reach in terms of social media and gaming will provide Google with a valuable entry point in pursuing an unexplored market.

Google eyes Chinese market with Tencent patent deal

Erasing legal risk is central to the reasoning behind the deal as the agreement means that patents cannot be infringed by either Google or Tencent, streamlining overall productivity.

As reported by Reuters, Mike Lee, Google’s head of patents, said: “By working together on agreements such as this, tech companies can focus on building better products and services for their users.”

Collaboration is a prominent and growing theme within the tech industry at the moment, with enterprises globally promoting openness to combat development friction.

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According to the Financial Times, Sam Xu, deputy general counsel and head of intellectual property at Tencent, said: “We are pleased to advance the collaboration between two leading technology companies.”

In light of the collaboration theme, Google recently took another step into China with the launch of its latest AI research centre in Shanghai. This move has been deemed by some to be the mark of the end of a difficult period in the relationship between Google and China, blocking of social media and the changing of laws were central to the problem.

Providing a cyclical effect, Tencent also opened an artificial intelligence lab in Seattle, a move that will have further narrowed the divide. The latest action between Google and Tencent will surely have also remedied the dynamic greatly.

Read more: China’s generative AI revolution is only just beginning

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