Detailed AllThingsD Report Claims Facebook Partnering With Baidu To Enter China
- Posted by bbishop
- on April 28th, 2011
Liz Gannes at AllThingsD has just written that Facebook is coming to China in partnership with Baidu and that the Facebook China will not be segregated from the global Facebook. Gannes writes:
Facebook will almost certainly launch its China version in partnership with Baidu.
While Facebook insists that no deal has been signed with anyone, sources within and around the company described Baidu as the most serious competitor.
Alibaba had also been in the running, but sources said its leaders had voiced disagreement with Facebook’s vision for connecting Chinese users to one global social graph, rather than starting with a closed system at first.
Alibaba advised that more conservative approach given that the Chinese political situation is currently quite tricky and the U.S. government would likely find fault with Facebook seeming to play any role in censoring its users in China, said sources.
A source familiar with those talks said of Facebook’s inclination to go with Baidu over Alibaba, “It was an issue of Mr. Right Now instead of Mr. Right.”…
Under discussions now taking place, sources said Facebook’s proposed plan could have Facebook and Baidu share the cost of setting up servers in China, and share revenue from the local version of the site. The local partner, Baidu, would presumably manage the censoring of the site and ongoing dealings with Chinese authorities.
As described above, when users outside China opt to connect to those inside China, they would see a warning message about the Chinese government.
As we all know, users are notoriously good at clicking through pop-up warnings without reading them, although this one is sure to get more notice.
Facebook could also use a combination of what it calls input filters and display filters, where Chinese users won’t be able to post or view content that’s objectionable to the Chinese government, but the rest of Facebook can run normally, sources said.
It will be a somewhat complicated technological endeavor to ensure that non-Chinese portions of the site don’t get stored in China.
Finally, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Facebook is considering sending a small group of its employees to help manage operations, but sources close to the company said this issue is still being debated due to safety considerations related to China’s oppressive government.
No word if Chinese regulators have approved this proposed deal.
The information in this blog post represents my own opinions and does not contain a recommendation for any particular security or investment. I or my affiliates may hold positions or other interests in securities mentioned in the Blog, please see my Disclaimer page for my full disclaimer.blog comments powered by Disqus
Bill Bishop is an American living in Beijing. He is bilingual and has experience working in both US and China. In 1997 he co-founded CBS MarketWatch and stayed until the sale in 2004 to Dow Jones. He was never a journalist, and instead worked in several business roles over the years, the last as head of the MarketWatch consumer Internet business. More »
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