The internets are ablaze tonight with a blockbuster rumor: Facebook will enter China. “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.”
Facebook has two options should it seek to access the China market: 1) A censored or separate Facebook; 2) Provide free technology to circumvent The Great Firewall. Neither is likely for the foreseeable future. Instead, the likely course is a continuation of the status quo: no Facebook China.
Mark Zuckerberg has now met with Baidu, China Mobile, Sina, and Alibaba as he explores China’s unique internet landscape. He has a strong natural curiosity towards China and is coming in with a beginner’s mindset: “I’m trying to understand the language, the culture, the mindset – it’s just such an important part of the world. How can you connect the whole world if you leave out a billion-six people?”
In a free market, Facebook would have become China’s leading real-relationship social network. It’s distinctly possible that in 2 years the entire world will be connected on Facebook, without China.
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