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Mark Zuckerberg and China

Illustration by Centaine Lim, with apologies to The Simpsons / Image credit: Tech in Asia

Facebook has just set up a subsidiary in China, where its social media service has been banned since 2009.

Facebook Agency Singapore – Novatise

Registered with capital worth US$4.4 million, the entity is wholly owned by Facebook Hong Kong, according to a filing on Tianyancha, a public database that tracks business registration information in China. It’s registered in Hangzhou, Alibaba’s home city.

The Facebook subsidiary isn’t setting its sights on social media – a market dominated by Tencent’s WeChat. Instead, it’s looking to bring its innovation know-how to China.

“We are interested in setting up an innovation hub in Zhejiang to support Chinese developers, innovators and startups,” a Facebook representative told Reuters.

A series of moves has hinted at Facebook’s ongoing interest in China. Last year, Colorful Balloon, an app that resembles Facebook’s photo-sharing Moments app, quietly appeared on Apple’s China app store. In January, Facebook partnered with smartphone maker Xiaomi to launch a virtual reality headset in the country.

Facebook’s latest China push makes a recent Mark Zuckerberg comment all the more interesting:

“Do we want American companies to be exporting across the world?” Zuckerberg said last week to Recode‘s Kara Swisher. “I think that the alternative, frankly, is going to be the Chinese companies.”

Facebook is also a popular advertising channel for Chinese businesses targeting overseas users, which is estimated to generate more than US$1 billion a year for the US giant.

Like Facebook, Google has found ways to expand its presence in China, where its search engine has been blocked since 2010: a Beijing-based articifial intelligence lab; a US$550 million strategic investment into JD, Alibaba’s biggest rival; and most recently, a drawing game that runs within China’s enormously popular social networking app WeChat.

Converted from Chinese yuan. Rate: US$1 = RMB 6.80

This post After Google, Facebook is also making its way back to China appeared first on Tech in Asia.

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