Google is reportedly staring down the barrel of an antitrust probe from China.
According to a new Reuters report, Beijing is investigating whether Google leveraged the dominance of its Android operating system for smartphones to stifle competition.
The probe was first proposed by Huawei, who alleged that the search giant’s use of its dominant Android operating system hurts competition.
The probe could start as soon as October and follow a template established by European regulators. “China will also look at what other countries have done, including holding inquiries with Google executives,” said one of Reuters‘ sources. It would also study how the EU decided on the 5.1 billion euro fine imposed on Google in 2018.
China’s decision on whether to launch a case against Google supposedly hinges on its relationship with the US. The rapport between the two nations is at a low ebb after the US blocked Huawei from using Google’s Android OS and forced ByteDance to sell off part of TikTok.
Huawei is one of more than 275 Chinese companies on the US Entity List. The trade blacklist bans American companies from doing business with these firms — now, US firms can only trade with Huawei if they get special permission.
Google is also facing an antitrust case in the US, too: Reuters reported Wednesday that the Justice Department would sue Google as soon as next week, citing three sources familiar with the process. The DOJ is currently asking state attorneys general to sign onto the suit, they said.