The buzz that Google Inc may move back to the Chinese mainland became louder this week after the Internet giant's numerous job postings appeared on social media.
On professionals' online network Linkedin alone, Google advertised as many as 60 jobs in Beijing and Shanghai, state- run China Daily reported on Thursday.
What started as a trickle of job postings in December gained momentum around the year-end and acquired dimensions of a vacancy deluge this week, as if to reinforce that whatever Google does tends to be on an epic scale, it said.
Google has not officially announced a return to the Chinese mainland yet.
But it is seriously seeking to hire a wide range of professionals in Beijing and Shanghai, among other places, suggesting its comeback may be high, the report said.
From interns to executives, Google is seeking to fill a variety of positions in China, across marketing, ad sales, business development, software development, product management, customer service, client relations and creative and technical services.
Google, which withdrew most of its operations from the Chinese mainland in 2010, declined to comment and did not confirm or deny earlier reports of its possible return.
But people who have worked with Google said earlier that the company may announce its return in the first half of 2016, the report said.
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet Inc, Google's parent, said in November that Google still has about 500 employees in the Chinese mainland.
Most of them are in its research and development and marketing departments who offer advertising services for Chinese companies that want to go global.
Gene Cao, a Beijing-based analyst with Forrester Research Inc, said Google's recruitment drive confirms the company's interest in the app store market, since it is hiring many Google Play-related personnel, such as business development managers and mobile application engineers.
In September, multiple sources told China Daily that Google was working on a China-specific version of Google Play, its app store for Android-powered devices, for the mainland market.
"But I doubt whether it can take a big pie from local players. The company has already missed out the highs in the country's smartphone industry, when sales peaked," he said.