Attending the fourth edition of the Chinese state-run "World Internet Conference" in Wuzhen, near Shanghai, Mr Pichai said that many small and medium-sized businesses in China take advantage of Google to get their products to many other countries outside of China, the South China Morning Post reported.
The Google website and most of the company's products - including YouTube - are banned in mainland China.
Google shut down its Chinese search engine seven years ago after a direct confrontation over Beijing's censorship policies.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook and Cisco Systems CEO Chuck Robbins also attended the event.
The previous three conferences in 2014, 2015 and 2016 were not attended by such heavyweight US tech executives as Mr Cook or Mr Pichai.
Mr Cook told the event that "the theme of this conference - developing a digital economy for openness and shared benefits - is a vision we at Apple share".
He said that Apple "is proud to have worked alongside" many of its partners in China to help build a community that will join a common future in cyberspace.
Apple this year agreed to Chinese government requests to remove dozens of virtual private network (VPN) apps - services that allow Chinese users to access blocked websites - from its local App Store.
Skype, the calling app, was removed from its mainland App Store this autumn.