Google ARCore is a software platform which enables developers to build augmented reality experiences for compatible devices. ARCore support has been rolled out to several handsets from different manufacturers across the globe but China was one market where this platform was previously unavailable. That changes today as Google has launched ARCore in China as part of a new partnership with Xiaomi.
Google has announced today that ARCore apps are now available in China, however, they will be available for Xiaomi Mix 2S smartphones initially and only through an app in the Xiaomi App Store. Google has said that it’s going to bring more partners onboard for ARCore in mainland China down the road. The company had previously confirmed that Samsung and Huawei are two manufacturers who have demonstrated intent to distribute ARCore apps on their smartphones in China.
ARCore apps can work in China even though Google’s core apps remain blocked in the country because they don’t rely on the company’s cloud. The ARCore technology runs locally on the device so even if the device can’t access Google’s servers, there’s nothing preventing them from running ARCore apps.
The distribution of these apps presents a challenge to Google as well which normally distributes them through the Play Store which happens to be restricted in China. This is what pushes China to ink deals with local partners in order to bring ARCore apps to users in the People’s Republic.
— Google AR & VR (@GoogleARVR) May 28, 2018