The internets are ablaze tonight with a blockbuster rumor: Facebook will enter China. Luckily Facebook registered the domain name Facebook.cn in 2007, so it will not befall the same cruel fate that Groupon China faces with a Chinese clone at Groupon.cn.

Marbridge Consulting reports:

According to a microblog post by Hu Yanping, founder of Beijing-based market research firm Data Center of the China Internet (DCCI), Facebook has signed an official contract with a local Chinese Internet company to build a new social networking website in China. Hu added that the new website would not be integrated with Facebook.com.

Supreme China internet watcher Bill Bishop tweets:

hu yanping founded china net researcher dcci, may have inside info, has 450k weibo followers, “facebook has china deal” news spreading fast

Hu Yanping was the first to break the news about Google’s pullout from China last year so he’s a well-regarded source in the tech industry.

In his weibo post (screenshot aboveHu Yanping names “some company,” rather than Baidu specifically. My translation of his weibo:

Facebook is really on the eve of entering China, the contract has been signed, with some Chinese partner who will build the new site according to some model, but which will not completely connect to Facebook.com. Is Facebook doomed to die in China? [Note: The last bit plays on an unofficial transliteration of Facebook's name into Chinese: "doomed to die."]

But Marbridge continues:

Editor’s Note: Multiple industry sources have revealed to Marbridge that online search giant Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) is the “local Chinese Internet company” that will be working with Facebook and operating the new SNS website in China. In mid-February it was rumored that Baidu’s top management had visited Facebook’s headquarters in Silicon Valley (see “Rumor: Baidu Visits Facebook in Silicon Valley,” MD 2/18/11 issue.)

The partner will NOT be Sina, contrary to popular speculation. Bill Bishop tweets:

Hu Yanping just replied 2 me on weibo that alleged Facebook China JV partner is NOT Sina $sina..wonder if rumors yesterday popped Sina $6?

AND

if facebook china jv rumor true, likely partners are alibaba, china mobile, sohu, baidu. china mobile might be an inspired choice

If you’ve read my previous pieces including Why Mark Zuckerberg Came to China and Why Facebook Will Not, you know this news would come as a shock to me! If true, Forbes’ Gady Epstein was clearly on the money when he wrote, Will Facebook Follow Zuckerberg To China? Inevitably.

Baidu is China’s largest search engine with ungodly amounts of search traffic (iResearch says Baidu has 84% market share) and web portal (Baidu Tieba or Post Bar). It also recently surpassed Tencent in market cap to become China’s most valuable internet company at almost $50 billion. That’s only slightly behind Facebook’s most recent valuations based on funding.

Yet like Google, Baidu has been unable to execute a successful social network or microblog to-date. Hello Facebook, welcome to China.

 

 

 

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  • Anonymous

    Should be very interesting to see how that turns out. Wow.

    http://www.Anonymous-Toolz.tk

  • http://thirdworldgeek.com Thirdworldgeek

    goodluck with that!

  • http://twitter.com/junde Yu Junde

    浮云。

    Let’s assume for a moment this JV is taking place between Facebook and a big Chinese company.

    This JV has to be aiming to build the biggest Chinese SNS, far greater than Renren’s reach and far beyond QQ’s younger audience. Then potentially, this SNS will contain social interactions and personal data of the biggest and most relevant target segments in China. There’s no forseeable way the central authorities will let a foreign company have hands on this data.

    Maybe this big Chinese company is Groupon China..

    • Kennethlchen

      It’s not Groupon China (Gaopeng) because Groupon China is funded / partnered with Tencent.

      • http://twitter.com/junde Yu Junde

        That was meant as a joke.

        A bad one though :)

  • JimmyJ

    Baidu must be desperate considering the SINA weibo.com juggernaut.

    • Kennethlchen

      Ten Cent is pushing their Weibo service hard, I doubt Weibo will continue to grow like it has been. It’s stock is way overvalued

  • http://twitter.com/DonSunny46664 Sunny Ye

    If Facebook does finally re-enter China Baidu will certainly be a partner of choice, since recently they chose to side with Tencent, Sohu and NetEase in Weibo competitions marking out Sina as the lone wolf with their seemingly unstoppable Weibo service.

    Baidu will also be able to provide Facebook with data on user behaviors and advice Zuckerberg’s team on the limitations of Chinese internet censorship, let’s see how this turns out…

    …Hopefully not like Groupon with niche market deals that’s already looking to be out performed by the local clones.

  • http://twitter.com/woodwoodtable WoodWoodTable

    At last ,people get knowed each other by Bai-Book will exchange there QQ ID.
    Bai-Book will just be another renren,unless it can attract my litter brother and my parents successfully.

  • http://twitter.com/laowaiblog Laowai Blog

    If Facebook enters China, it is not only competition from rival Chinese competitors that will disrupt its operations but also government regulations and rules that will prevent users from freely expressing their wishes and thoughts. How Facebook will manage to overcome that meaningful obstacle (the one that prevented its entry in the first place) is the real key for Facebook’s success.

    http://laowaiblog.com/facebook-anyone/

  • Anonymous

    http://www.technews5.com/2011/04/facebook-entering-china-with-baidu.html
    Facebook has signed an agreement with Chinese search engine giant Baidu to set up a new social networking site in China, a leading web portal reported Monday.

  • Fredricfei

    I concerned that if the locol facebook.cn was separated from global facebook, what’s the attraction? just the “original flavor”?
    Wait and see.

  • http://twitter.com/technobaboy technobaboy

    wow, a three-way fight? facebook, weibo and ren-ren? http://bit.ly/gDUzFg

  • http://twitter.com/21tigermike Michael A. Robson

    So if China doesn’t like something they see on FB, they can call up their slaves at BIDU, and pull the plug. 中国欢迎你。

    Seriously Mark, is it really worth it? There are already millions of Chinese on FB, via VPN. Do you really want to get into bed with these snakes?

  • Eslon

    Q:who are ‘lone wolf music’ oh, no, lone wolf terrorismA: The governemnt trauma based mind controled slave. Trauma based mind controlled slave has other names, such as Psychiatry Out patient, Targeted Individual, Human Robert, under the government bluebird project, or MKultra mind control project, Carried out by Psychiatry ACT team and SS police. While those people carry out tasks assigned by the government. They usually get assistant from police officer, otherwise, there is no way for them to have done so much damages. All the tasks they’ve done are assigned by the psychiatry ACT team, the agent of the government for certain political porpurses.Interestingly, all those ‘LONE WOLF terrorist’ is under the government very close survillenct before they conduct those crimes assigned by the governement agent. I am very concern what the role the U.S. , Canada, England, Norway government played while they create these terrorist attack? PUBLIC MIND PROGRAMMING, program hatred in people’s mind, for the next political propagnada. Now, my biggest concern is what the government next propagnada is?