Facebook Dangles $85M for Chinese Foothold
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.
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.
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!