Google shut down its search engine services in 2010 for disagreeing with auto-censorship rules demanded by Chinese authorities. Instead Google directed all of its Chinese traffic to the uncensored Hong Kong version and saw in the coming months all its services such as Maps, Gmail, Youtube, Playstore, etc become inaccessible to Chinese users. Only VPN could allow users at a very low speed to bypass The Great Firewall, protecting China from foreign non-complying content.
Hopefully, in 2018 after 7 years of absence from a huge market, Google decided to move back by opening a R&D center in Beijing, soon followed by a so-called purchasing office in the Chinese hardware Silicon Valley : Shenzhen city.
The most interesting about being in China again through Wechat mini programs (Tencent group) is that these mini programs were especially designed to prevent Wechat users to go through other parties’ store (Apple, Baidu, Alibaba & others) to download apps. Google’s Playstore having been blocked from China for ages, they couldn’t suffer from losing traffic to their store since they was none ! Other reasons could be that Google needed to train their AI first output with the massive data pool of China users by launching this charming sketching game. Together with the recent invest in JD.com (Tencent backed 2nd China e-commerce player) is also showing another clue that Google is not finished yet with experiments on China market.