Facebook has conquered most of the world with its productivity-killing social network platform. Well, almost everywhere: the service is banned in China since 2009. That didn’t stop the company from using an office in Hong Kong to build up a business of selling ads in the region.
A report on Bloomberg says that the company is taking huge steps to break through the untapped region by setting up plans to open up a sales office in Beijing, in an effort to work with local advertisers closely. The company is in negotiations to lease space in Beijing’s Fortune Financial Center. There is no word on how many full-time employees will man the new office.
Facebook Vice President Vaughan Smith said in an email statement that due to the rapid growth of the social network business between Hong Kong and China, the company is exploring ways to provide local support. He also confirmed that China will have its sales office, though the timing and location is yet to be determined.
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During the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing, Smith said that Facebook helped China grow from an economical standpoint. He cited that Facebook promoted Chinese clothing and jewellery firm Wholesale Dress and game studio FunPlus overseas. The social network giant also said that it plans to boost sales from Asia; it made US$345 million in the first quarter in the region and makes up 14 percent of its revenue. Also, the platform has more than 390 million active users in the region.
Keep in mind that the service is still censored in the region despite this turn of events, alongside other Western-based services like Twitter and Google’s search engine. China has its own tools to replace them: Sina Corp’s Weibo is the local equivalent to Twitter that has 129 million plus monthly active users, while Tencent‘s WeChat which is like WhatsApp (now owned by Facebook) has 355 million users.
One thing that Facebook needs to watch out for is the possibility of the company being denied by the Chinese government to set up shop. After all, what it’s doing is inadvertently encouraging people to bypass censorship and firewalls to access its cherished social network platforms.