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Facebook Explores The Idea Of China Office

Expansion strategy coming into focus

Facebook is looking at the prospect of opening a sales office in China, in order to work with local advertisers. This move would put the social network’s employees in the East Asian country for the first time ever, despite its service being censored there.

social media in China
Source: monkeyabroad.com

Facebook could open the office in China within a year to serve an increasingly growing set of customers in the country. It is thought that Facebook executives are in discussions to lease a space in Beijing’s Fortune Financial Centre, which is located in the city’s central business district. It is also been reported that the giant company hasn’t decided whether to hire contractors or full-time employees for a sales office.

The opening of an office in China would be a monumental step for Facebook given that the country is one of the last massive markets that remain untouched by the firm. The service provided by Facebook was banned in 2009 by the Chinese government, but using an office in Hong Kong, they have quietly built up a business in the country by selling ads to firms that want to connect with international users.

Facebook Vice President, Vaughn Smith, said in an emailed statement: “Today, our sales team in Hong Kong is supporting these Chinese businesses, but because of the rapid growth these businesses are achieving by using Facebook, we are of course exploring ways that we can provide even more support locally and may consider having a sales office in China in the future.” Despite strong hints that a Chinese office was on the horizon, he has declined to comment on the most recent rumors of the timing and location of this apparent new office.

The Chinese predicament

China has been very difficult for US networking companies to break into in recent years. Yahoo! and eBay have made slight inroads in the market, but in 2010 Google said it would not comply with the country’s online censorship rules, and with this it shut its local search page. Twitter has also suffered the Chinese censorship wrath, and was blocked in the country. Despite some of the negatives surrounding US internet companies in China, LinkedIn recently announced that it plans to expand its Chinese-language website, and will also adhere to the censorship rules.

social media in China
Source: influencecn.com

China as a prosperous autonomous nation

The censorship rules in the country mean that many US companies are not making any impact on Chinese soil, but this is only to the country’s benefit. There has been a massive increase in local web firms, and with success also. An example is Sina Corp’s Weibo, who are a Chinese service that works just like Twitter, and it has more than 129 million monthly active users and also went public in the US last month. 

China presents a massive opportunity for many US companies, but obviously the censorship issues are still relative. If a company such as LinkedIn were to comply with the Chinese government then this would open a huge market, untouched by US competitors. Facebook may be trying to get a ahead of the game by opening an office in China, and as the company are already doing some business in the country, this may be a clue that relations between the two are growing.

It is easy to dismiss China in the social media world, but they hold the key to success due to their untapped market. The next year will be a fascinating one in the fight to secure China’s market, and Facebook look as thought they are plotting something huge.

Alex is an English Literature and Sociology undergraduate whose love for written word has led him to write about some obscure topics in his time. Currently a content writer at Social Media Frontiers, be sure to follow him @AlexSatSMF.

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Facebook Explores The Idea Of China Office Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, May 19, 2014 Rating: 5
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