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Facebook back in China?

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Rumors about Facebook’s comeback in China have been surging on the Internet as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been in Beijing for a few days.

Facebook Chief in Beijing

Facebook Chief who is currently on vacation in China has met the leaders of one of the most popular Chinese Internet portal, namely A few days ago, Mr Zuckerberg named Time magazine’s person of the year also met Baidu CEO Robin Li.

In addition to his interest in learning Chinese Mandarin, Facebook Chief never hid his willingness to reenter the Chinese market, currently holding the world’s largest Internet population.

No Facebook in China

Facebook has been blocked in China since July 2009. Other social media sites, like Twitter and Flickr, are also banned in China

China is still one of the main remaining holdouts from Facebook worldwide domination (Facebook has more than 500 million users). Thus, the Chinese market would represent a vast market of new users. 

The country already has two major domestic social networks (Kaixin and RenRen), greatly similar to Facebook

What strategy for Facebook in China?

The question is now to know whether Facebook Chief has used his trip to start persuading Chinese leaders to allow again Facebook into China.

To face the local competition and become a major player in the Chinese SNS market, Facebook will have to obey Chinese regulations. Not sure Facebook is ready to do so...

One of the other alternatives for Facebook in China would be to establish a partnership with a domestic player.

Tencent Acquires Comsenz and Becomes Leader of Chinese BBS


China's largest Internet company Tencent acquires a Chinese social networking development company. The deal was reportedly worth more than 60 million dollars.

Tencent enters China's BBS market

Tencent is China's No.1 online game operator and operates famous IM service and portal QQ. Comsenz is a Beijing-based social-networking provider which is behind the Discuz online discussion board platform which is extremely popular in China and also other community products.

Over 80% Chinese sites are running its BBS and over 70% of the BBSs are built on Discuz system. Comsenz also developed some other free social software like UCHome with which you can easily set up a Facebook-like social network.

Google invested 1 million dollars in Comsenz two years ago. Comesenz will now operate an a subsidiary of Tencent.

The consequences of the acquisition

First consequence of Comsenz's acquisition by Tencent is that million of Chinese sites will be seen as powered by Tencent instead of powered by Discuz!.

Besides, all the search engine of the BBSs built on Discuz system will be powered by Tencent’s search engine Soso. This could help Soso improve its low market share in China's search market against its main competitors, namely Baidu and Google.

In addition, Tencent might integrate its services like QZone and its microblogging service into the Discuz platform. QQ number could also be used as login with all Discuz powered BBS, so that QQ number could become the truly ‘OpenID’ in Chinese web.

Tencent wants to remain China's biggest Internet company

Other Chinese Internet giant Alibaba recently acquired Comsenz’s competitor PHPWind to enter China's BBS market. Tencent’s move on Comsenz is therefore clever in order to counter Alibaba.

BBS plays a very important part in Chinese eCommerce market since people often look for and exchange information about products. The question is now to see whether Tencent will take advantage of Discuz to promote its Paipai eCommerce platform in order to compete with Alibaba.

Tencent which owns 10% of Russian Facebook investor Digital Sky Technologies could look for more acquisitions as it seeks to expand overseas.

Facebook hits 500 million users

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World’s largest social network service Facebook hits 500 million users according to a post on their blog.

Facebook: 500 million strong 

Despite difficulties about privacy concerns, Facebook has gained almost 250 million users compared to one year ago. 

However, the world's leading social network has to find other ways to maintain its growth since some markets like the US seem to be saturated.

That's why Facebook recently announced its willingness to go local and grow in Asian countries, notably in China (even if it's still blocked!), Russia, South-Korea and Japan where it isn't the leading social network.

In China, Facebook competes with local social networks such as Tencent QQ, Renren Network (former Xiaonei) and Kaixin001.

Facebook launches new application

Facebook also unveils a new application namely "Facebook stories" allowing users to share stories that highlight the benefits of Facebook in their life.

For example, Ben Saylor, a high school student, who used Facebook to organize a community effort to rebuild a theater in Kentucky, after it was damaged by floods in May.

Next objective for Facebook is clearly to reach 1 billion users.

IBM launches its Chinese IT SNS version

My developerWorks logo

IBM launches the Chinese version of its vertical Social Networking Service (SNS) for professionals.

IBM's My DeveloperWorks

The service named My developerWorks targets Chinese software developers and IT professionals.

Based on IBM's corporate network and technologies, My developerWorks is a professional network allowing people to use community tools. Among the services provided, there are blogs, forums, groups, and wikis for users to share knowledge and solve technical problems.

Since the launch of the worldwide version of My developerWorks in 2009, IBM claims to have 325,000 active users and an average increase of over 1,000 newly registered users daily.

My DeveloperWorks screenshot

A non-profit but value-added SNS

Contrary to other SNS such as, and Facebook, My developerWorks is a vertical social networking site meaning it focuses on a particular industry and targets users that are interested in this particular segment sector.

The main advantage of My developerWorks is that it integrates data from IBM's developer community and provides industry articles, tutorials, code and skill kits to meet the needs of users.

The Chinese version of My developerWorks is a non-profit site that IBM regards as a value-added service platform for its other businesses.

Facebook wants to grow in China even if it's still blocked

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World’s largest social network service Facebook hopes to grow in Asia, and notably in China, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the Cannes Lions advertising festival.

World's largest SNS

Founded in 2004, Facebook now has almost 500 million members.

The company is looking for other ways to maintain its growth driven now by non-English languages, in particular French, Spanish, Turkish and Indonesian. The objective is to reach 1 billion users.

Facebook to go local

Mark Zuckerberg also announced that Facebook would soon begin to make its first strategic local moves and do specific things in specific countries. He did not specify whether that would involve local customisation of Facebook in those countries, or some sort of corporate activity.

He also pointed out that mobile internet would be a driver of growth in social media.

Facebook wants to take the lead in the Asian SNS market

Among the countries for the next phase of expansion, Mark Zuckerber quoted China, Russia, South-Korea and Japan where Facebook isn't the leading social network.

Facebook faces fierce competition with Chinese social networks such as Tencent QQ, Renren Network (former Xiaonei) and Kaixin001 (see our article about SNSs in China). But as you know, Facebook is still blocked in China, so I don't really understand how Facebook intends to gain users unless it buys one of these companies.

Other local Asian SNS leaders include Cyworld in South Korea, Mixi in Japan and Vkontakte in Russia.

Chinese private social network P1 doesn't want to expand abroad

P1 private social network

Yu Wang, founder & CEO, announces today at the 6th edition of CHINICT in Beijing that the Chinese private social network has no intention to expand abroad.

"It's a small world..."

Founded in 2007, P1 is a private social network. Contrary to typical Chinese networking sites like Renren Network and Kaixin001, it only targets a small audience: affluent and urban people who need to expand their network. In order to provide a trusted environment, P1 membership can only be obtained through invitations, insuring members to connect with aliked people.

P1 is doing fine in China...

The network currently consists of 700,000 individuals in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Their business model is based on advertizing, ecommerce (private sales) and offline events (parties, social activites...) exclusively reserved to P1's members. Since the network wants to remain a close community, there is no need to advertize. In addition, Yu Wang says that P1 focuses only on China and there was no plan to expand abroad. The other internationally well known private social network is aSmallWorld.

Kaixin001 wants to become more than a gaming social network

Kaixin001 gaming social network

Kaixin001, one of China's largest and fastest growing social network site, hits 80 million users, Hans Tung (Kaixin001's Board Director) says at the 6th edition of CHINICT which takes place on May 27th & 28th 2010 in Beijing, China.

CHINICT is a conference which gathers every year all the actors of tech innovation and entrepreneurship in China.

A successful Chinese social network

Famous for launching social games on a social platform, Kaixin001 has had an astronomical growth very quickly online since its foundation in 2008. The company thinks that the key thing of any SNS site is the social relations on the site : friends and family who are all on the site and who can share headlines, etc.  Gaming tries to build things that users would welcome, users would enjoy.

For example, Happy Farm, the most famous game in the platform, hit more than 15 million active users in 2009. Even after this peak, they are still 10 millions this year. Kaixin001's success in China can also be explained due to the permanent blockage of other social network webstites, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

A Gaming social network, and then ?

Kaixin001 needs some time for 3G adoption as well as smartphone adoption. But the Chinese social network does not want to be known solely as a gaming platform. It is now getting itself into the travel sites business as well. They also seem ready to open to third-party. Nevertheless, despite its growth, Kaixin001 doesn't think that time to IPO has come yet...

SNS in China, Everyone Increases... but Facebook

facebook xiaonei kaixin kaixin001 china traffic

Every social network system is growing in China... except facebook, because as we told you before, facebook is blocked in china.

When I see the hard time google is having to gain market shares against baidu (which has about 70% market share here in china), I think facebook is not likely to get back in the competition. When facebook will be accessible again, it will be too late. Specially because chinese users won't go from xiaonei or kaixin001 to facebook if they already have their contacts in these two sns.


Facebook, to get back in the game, will have to buy one of these sns (maybe xiaonei, because xiaonei is a copy of facebook, so users won't have difficulties to adapat to facebook's interface).

Another thaught is... if these sns become bigger and stronger, won't they try to compete with facebook in other countries?

Once more, local players are doing better in china than international ones (I know, with a little help ;o) but still, i think that if you want to be in the chinese market... the best thing you could do is ... coming to China.

China Facebook

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China facebook. Today, Facebook and twitter, probably because of what's going on on the west side of the country, are blocked in china. I am not going to discuss the politics behind this. This is a blog about search engine optimization, and internet marketing, so i am going to stick to that... but don't think i am heartless or I don't care about what is going on.

1) Now imagine you are in shanghai, or beijing, and you run your company on facebook (with a facebook app), well, as long as facebook is blocked, then you have 0 turn over...


2) they want to stop spreading the information... but i am wondering if by blocking facebook, they don't actually boost the spread of information, because the whole world is going to speak about facebook being blocked!


3) Often, people think that china is blocking facebook to stop information broadcasting abroad. actually I think that the main reason is for chinese in china. this is the most important part they need to control... so why don't they stop xiaonei, a facebook copy in china!?


Well, let's hope facebook is going to be accessible again in china in few hours, because it's also a tool for my business...

 Edit: we are on the 24 of july, and facebook is till blocked in china. It's probably going to be blocked until october 1st 2009, for the 60th anniversary of the creation of the "People's Republic of China".