Thomas Crampton

Next Beta: Social Media's Evolution, Globally

UPDATE: Facebook signs to enter China?

Apr 8, 2011

UPDATED Again on April 9: Bloomberg now reports that Facebook is in exploratory talks with unnamed partners, but that nothing has been signed yet.

UPDATED April 9: Due to a Tweet from a highly credible source, China’s Internet is now echoing with unconfirmed rumors that Facebook signed an agreement with an unknown partner to enter China.

Overnight much has been written about the Facebook/China rumor, with speculation now focusing around a Baidu partnership. Bill Bishop added that Alibaba, Sohu and China Mobile were other possible partners.

Baidu, several people have noted, has not distinguished itself in social so far. Bill Bishop also Tweeted some well-needed skepticism: “don’t get 2 excited about a possible facebook deal for China. remember w blue chip backers. a disaster here. long b4 us blew up”

Notable postings to watch include: Robin Wauter at TechCrunch, Kai Lukoff, Bill Bishop and Marbridge Consulting.

WRITTEN APRIL 8: Hu Yan Ping, manager and founder of Internet research center DCCI, Tweeted on Sina Weibo an hour ago:

“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 Will this live or die in China?”

In the first hour the Tweet received 500 retweets and 178 comments.

Among the initial speculative comments:

– Many said the the tie up will be with portal giant Sina.

– Some suggested the tie up will be with search giant Baidu.

– Some joked that Tencent had really bought Facebook.

In recent months Mark Zuckerberg has met with founders of China net giants Sina, Baidu and Alibaba. Opening a Facebook equivalent in China seems about the only way to enter a market where the government has such a strong say on how the Internet operates.

Who is Hu? According to a conference bio: “Yanping Hu has engaged in China Internet research since 1995 and was the Chief Editor of China Internet Weekly.”
What is DCCI?
DCCI, which stands for Data Center of China Internet, is an Internet research company that does Internet monitoring, interactive marketing, measurement, analysis, optimization services.

Anyone from Palo Alto have other details (or a confirmation)?

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View Comments for “UPDATE: Facebook signs to enter China?”

  • This is awfully valuable post, I can agree I made the identical thing once I had the equivalent trouble as the person that is speaking.

  • Tweeted some well-needed skepticism: “don’t get 2 excited about a possible facebook deal for China.

  • Danny

    I will never create an account on the Chinese FB. Anybody remembers the
    Skype scandal? People should just get a VPN or a good proxy and use the
    real thing.

    Right now I am using this to get on Facebook:

  • We won't be oblige to take a VPN to unblock Facebook in china ? hourraaa
    For the moment, if someone wants to unblock facebook, youtube, or an other website: !

  • Starting from zero users does seem like a daunting task. However, with a strong strategic partner like Baidu who have upwards of 80% of search traffic in China, I believe it won't be as difficult as we initially thought. Facebook know what they are doing when it comes to strategic partnerships in foreign markets. They leveraged the search power of Yandex (The Russian Search Engine) to increase their market share in Russia against Vkontatke, with great success. If you're interested in learning more about Baidu, Vkontatke of Yandex check out our blog The Global Guide to New Media.

  • If this is true, and really separate from, I can't possibly see how this is going to work... It means they're basically starting with zero users. How are they going to convince people to switch from the many full-featured Facebook competitors who already have a big user base?

  • Yes, agree. They would start at zero against already successful and entrenched competitors. That is why they would need a good partner who is not a competitor.

  • charles shaw

    If true is HUGE story especially with google getting their kicked out of China

  • Entering China is no a guarantee Facebook will succeed. China is littered with globally dominant web companies that fail in China.

  • The CountOfMonteChristo

    If this were to happen, my bet is on SINA. The China Gov likes SINA a lot and it has the platforms in place or close to it to meld with FB

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