Facebook sets sights on China
The world's most popular social media platform will soon turn its attention to the world's biggest internet population – China.
As part of the paperwork filed for the company's initial public offering – which fellow blogger Aimee reported on last week – Facebook acknowledged China as a likely candidate for its next venture.
"China is a large potential market for Facebook," the company's IPO filing said.
Facebook first launched its Chinese interface in 2008 but was blocked in mid-2009 – leaving China's population of 1.3 billion as an untapped resource ever since.
Government data released in January indicated that almost half of China's 500 million internet users use social networking sites.
However, one of Facebook's biggest challenges in cracking the Chinese market will be its domestic competitors.
"The Chinese have been social for years, and Facebook would be just one more option among many," founder of Shanghai-based social media consultancy CIC Sam Flemming told Reuters yesterday (February 8).
"It certainly would have a certain amount of cache, especially among the more internationalised Chinese and foreigners living in China, but it would need a big push in awareness beyond this small group."
Websites such as Renren – which literally translates to "Everyone's Website" – and microblogging site Sina Weibo are some of the most popular choices among the competitive social media field in China.
"Anything related to online content, especially user-generated content, is very tough in China," technology author Rebecca MacKinnon told USA Today (February 7).
"Google attempted to run a search engine in China, and they ended up giving up."
Google, Amazon, eBay and Yahoo are among the list of internet companies who have attempted to launch in China but have failed.
Posted by Elise Ferrari