When Google released Cai Hua Xiao Ge, an illustration game on China’s omnipresent messaging app WeChat on Wednesday, turned out to be a direct hit. Similar to the Quick, Draw game it rolled out in 2016, the online game uses artificial intelligence to presume what objects you are doodling within a short time of 20 Seconds. This can be anything from toothpaste to Mona Lisa.
The launch of the AI-powered game comes after the opening of the Google AI China Center in December of last year. Google uses it to access more Chinese researchers and engineers, seeking it to position itself between China and the U.S., as the frontrunners in the global AI race.
One key reason that this doodle game works in China is that it is embedded into China’s messaging app, WeChat that is owned by Tencent. Unlike the English version, the game does not run on a Google-owned website.
Previously in this year, Google rolled-out a patent cross-licensing agreement with Tencent, vowing to put up long-term ties on futuristic technology and innovation.
It’s not the first time Google partnered with China’s local tech giants to penetrate the country’s more than billion mobile internet users. Last month, it poured $550 Million in JD.com, China’s e-commerce giant. Google has even managed to sell its devices such as smart speakers on JD.
While the approach of functioning with local tech giants might seem realistic for Google to grab a piece of the booming market, however, a full comeback still remains a long shot. Last June, a senior Chinese official told the Financial Times that a potential Google comeback relies on the foundation of China-American relations. And the current trade tensions amid Beijing and Washington don’t seem to be in Google’s favor.
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