Facebook Dangles $85M for Chinese Foothold


image Have you noticed how whenever we discuss Friendster these days, we can’t help point out that most of its traffic comes from Asia? Just about everyone mentions this in a negative kind of way–as if the audience isn’t valuable. Well, there must be some value in the Asian market because Facebook reportedly offered $85 million to buy it’s largest Chinese peer, Zhanzuo.com.

According to the Times

A spokeswoman told The Times that Jack Zhang, Zhanzuo’s chief executive, and Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, were acquainted but this did not mean that they intended to reach a deal – for the moment. She added, however, that “there could be more information by the end of the month”.

Can Facebook have the same success in China as it has in the US? MySpace China is trying to get a foothold there, but it’s not an easy task. As we all know–because us western journalists love to point it out–the entire web in China is controlled by a very nervous Chinese government. Ask Google and Yahoo and they’ll tell you the difficulties of operating a business there.

It will be an interesting day, when Facebook China forms its first "Tiananmen Square" group.

(via)

UPDATE: According to a Facebook spokesperson: “No offer has been made and no acquisition of any company in China is being considered by Facebook. We do not know who the spokeperson is that they are referring to in the Times story and were never contacted by the paper to confirm the accuracy of this story.”
Well crap, if you can’t rely on the Times, who can you rely on!

  • http://www.simpletiger.com Simpletiger

    The hub of social communication between Chinese and American businesses on Alibaba.com somewhat relates to this new venture for Facebook. Of course, Facebook doesn’t specifically connect wholesale to manufacturer, but unintentionally it is bound to happen.
    One of my clients deals first hand with several manufacturers in China and the nervous Chinese government you mention is all too accurate.
    I still think that there is a huge amount of hope in countries like China for Facebook, mainly due in part to the sudden increase in brand name quality coming out of China. New products that mimic the style and quality of Japanese products like Sony, Hitachi, and Samsung are beginning to saturate the market. Take a stroll through Wal-Mart and compare the LCD televisions for instance.
    I think China may use Facebook to help pump some of their best brands. Good post!

  • http://www.thebillevard.com Reed

    I support facebook because it is the best above all competitors, but It is a sure guarantee that a social networking website is going to have a whole lot more trouble with the chinese government then google ever did.

  • http://horisly.blogspot.com Horisly

    never a US company of any other foreign company could have an easy foothold at Chinese. such as Google China, it has come to China for 2 years, but still in the struggle.

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  • http://www.minicix.com minicix

    Facebook is trying to get some marketshare in China but it will be very difficult, look, even Google has not major search marketshare. In markets like China, Russia, etc its difficult for western internet companies to get adopted, local users like local apps more.

  • J

    The market in China is worth all that money. If only they can do business with minimal intervention from the Chinese government.

    And like someone mentioned, they’ll definitely find it harder than Google.