Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) says authorities in China have approved its acquisition of Motorola Mobility. This brings the Internet search giant closer to completing its biggest deal ever.

Google Inc. is buying the mobile phone maker for $12.5 billion. The deal was announced last August and had received all necessary regulatory approvals except in China. Google’s relations with China have been strained since it moved its search engine out of the country two years ago in a dispute over censorship and security.

“We are pleased the deal has received approval in all jurisdictions,” Motorola Mobility said in an e-mailed statement, confirming that the deal has been approved in China. “We expect to close imminently.”

Google, facing legal disputes over its Android smartphone software, will be able to draw on more than 17,000 patents from Libertyville, Illinois-based Motorola Mobility. The acquisition is the largest wireless-equipment deal in at least a decade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Our stance since we agreed to acquire Motorola has not changed and we look forward to closing the deal,” Mountain View, California-based Google said in an e-mailed statement. The company also confirmed it had received word from Chinese authorities of the purchase being approved.

Google fell 3.6 percent to $600.40 yesterday in New York trading. The shares have fallen 7 percent this year. Motorola Mobility closed unchanged at $39.20. The stock is up 1 percent year to date.

Google spokeswoman Niki Fenwick says the Chinese government cleared the deal on Saturday.

The deal allows Google to expand into manufacturing phones, tablet computers and other consumer devices for the first time. 

The deal is expected to close early next week.

(Bloomberg and The AP contributed to this report)