Charles Golvin, an analyst with Forrester Research, told the Associated Press news agency that it did not make sense to sell the devices in a market where key services might be restricted or unavailable soon.

'High-stakes poker game'

The absence of Google's services might discourage the development of other Android-equipped phones for China's market, limiting customer choices among a new breed of mobile devices fast gaining popularity in other parts of the world, he said.

But keeping new Android phones off the China market would hurt Google, too.

The company, which launched its own Nexus One Android phone earlier this month - so far available only in a few markets - expects Android devices to become a key way of accessing Google's search engine, email service and Google-owned YouTube in the next decade.

China is already the world's largest mobile phone market, with more than 700 million accounts, and its rapidly growing economy is providing more people with the means to buy the latest gadgets.

Google remains optimistic it can persuade China's ruling party to loosen its restrictions on the web, however, and says it is seeking talks with the government on a solution.

'No exception'

But China's government has given little indication it is willing to budge from its tough censorship stance.

Ma Zhaoxu, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said on Tuesday that Google was expected to adhere to China's laws.

"Foreign enterprises in China need to adhere to China's laws and regulations," he said, adding: "Google is no exception."

Meanwhile, Google has reportedly launched an investigation into whether any of its staff in China were involved in the alleged cyber attack.

Citing unnamed sources, the Wall Street Journal earlier this week said some of the firm's 700 workers in China had been blocked from the company's internal network during the investigation.