“How can you connect the whole world if you leave out 1.6 billion people?”
This quote by Mark Zuckerberg sums up the Facebook.Cn issue. How can Facebook consider itself to be truly global when over 500,000,000 internet users are excluded.
Above it is possible to see what the world looks like according to Facebook. Intern Paul Butler created this visualisation of the social networks connections globally, it is clear to see that China is very much in the dark when it comes to the world according to Facebook. For more information on this graphic you can visit mashable.
So whilst there appears to be no immediate plans for Facebook to re-enter China after being banned in the country several years ago, Mark Zuckerberg’s recent trip to the country has set the internet rumour mill into action. The rumour is that Facebook has inked a partnership with a Chinese internet giant in a move to enter the country. These rumours originate from a message posted on Sina Weibo, a Chinese Twitter-type micro-sharing service, by Hu Yanping, a director of the Data Center of China Internet, a respected internet business analyst and former journalist.
Translated, the message says:
“Facebook really is about to enter China, the agreement is signed. A domestic website will work with Facebook to create a new site. This new site is not interlinked with Facebook.com. Will this live or die in China?”
This all comes after Mark Zuckerberg’s trip to China last year where he met with a number of interesting people such as Robin Li, the billionaire co-founder of Baidu, China Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou, Sina.com CEO Charles Chao and the head of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma.
It was believed at the time that the trip was an effort by Zuckerberg to learn more about the Chinese market, rather than to discuss any specific business proposals. However, it did come after the 26-year-olds announcement that he wished to once again re-enter the Chinese market. He claimed his hopes where to “figure out the right partnerships that we would need to do in China to succeed on our terms.”
The rumours insinuate that deals have potentially been signed with Sina, the largest Chinese language infotainment web portal, or Baidu, the Chinese search engine juggernaut (currently with a 83.6% share of the search query market share in China according to Resonance China), or perhaps both.
Establishing a partnership with a local internet giant would be the right way for Facebook to enter China, however, the details of any deals could prove crucial. In order to appease the restrictive Chinese government Facebook would either have to launch as a completely separate site, or if not, then censor Facebook for Chinese users. Any such actions will likely result in a backlash from human rights groups, and therefore, any such plans must be carefully considered before being put into action.
What do you think of the current rumours sweeping the internet? Will Facebook be able to enter China without seriously upsetting either the Chinese government or human rights organisations? Or have you heard of other plans by Facebook for China?
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