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Google and Tencent sign an agreement to share patents



  Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California

Google reached an agreement with China's largest technology firm to share patents covering a range of products and technologies, according to a new report on Friday.


Stephen Shankland / CNET

Two of the largest technology companies in the world reached an agreement to collaborate more closely.

Google and Tencent, China's largest technology company, have agreed to share patents in a range of products and technologies, Bloomberg reported Friday. Tencent owns China's most popular messaging application, WeChat, and one of China's most popular games, Honor of Kings.

The cross-licensing agreement between technology mammoths is expected to facilitate Google's re-entry into China, where most of its services have been blocked for years, and help with Tencent's offer to expand outside its home country . Google withdrew its search engine and related services from China in 2010 when it decided it would no longer follow the censorship requirements of the Chinese government.

Google has been slowly expanding its presence in China over the past year. In March, Google launched a new version of its translation application there. In December, Google said that would open an artificial intelligence laboratory in China and quietly establish a new office in Shenzhen.

Meanwhile, Tencent is trying to go beyond China. In December, he launched Arena of Valor outside mainland China. The game, released in the United States, is an English-language version of Honor of Kings. The latter has more than 200 million registered users and ranked first in Apple's Chinese App Store for almost a year. Arena of Valor presents DC superheroes to serve an American audience.

The patent sharing agreement is not the first of its kind for Google. The company signed a similar agreement with Samsung in 2014 to cover existing patents and those filed during the next decade. The search giant also signed an agreement with HTC in September to take advantage of its talents to develop Pixel phones.

Mike Lee, Google's patent chief, and Tencent's intellectual property owner Sam Xu, said in an e-mail message to CNET that they are "happy" with the collaboration, noting that it will allow their companies to focus on build "better products and services" for consumers.

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