Caixin
May 05, 2017 02:11 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Facebook Extends China Presence to Shanghai

(Beijing) — Facebook Inc. is preparing to open an office in Shanghai, a city agency said, as it continues to move toward its eventual goal of launching its core social network in the world’s biggest internet market.

Announcement of the move was made in a brief post on the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce’s official WeChat account on Thursday. The post included a photo of a meeting between agency chief Shang Yuying and Facebook’s China chief representative, Wang-Li Moser, who spent more than a decade at Intel Corp.’s China operation before joining Facebook in 2015.

“The two sides held an in-depth exchange on Facebook’s plan to open a Shanghai office and other matters,” the Commerce Commission said in its post.

A Facebook spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

Facebook opened a Beijing office in 2014, according to previous Chinese media reports. The company has not spoken specifically about that office’s role since its core social networking site is blocked in China and thus inaccessible to most local Chinese users. But Facebook could still use the office to cater to local companies who want to advertise to potential customers outside China.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg frequently travels to China, and has long made it known that he wants to open a service in the country, the world’s biggest internet market with more than 700 million web surfers. In addition to his high-profile trips, Zuckerberg has also hosted one of China’s top internet officials at Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters and met President Xi Jinping in Washington during a previous visit in 2015.

Facebook’s WhatsApp instant messaging service is accessible in China, but the local market is dominated by the hugely popular WeChat, owned by local internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. Most observers believe Facebook would have to enter China through a joint venture due to Beijing’s strict laws that require all websites to police themselves for sensitive content.

Contact reporter Yang Ge (geyang@caixin.com)

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