TechCrunch thinks Facebook might partner with Sina. I am not 100% sure, but I have the feeling that it more likely will be Baidu. Tencent as a tough competitor is not possible; Alibaba and China Mobile I don’t see the reason why they should enter the social network space and what’s the value they could bring to Facebook; but Baidu, as one of the biggest Internet companies in China, it has the users, content and dominates local search market but its market share on social networking is almost zero. Furthermore, Robin Li was also reported several times meeting with Mark Zuckerberg.
The rumor also says that Facebook for China might be operating separately from Facebook main site, i.e. both sites might not share the same user database or content, which reminds me of the MySpace in China. I assume there will be a local team set up for operating Facebook China, but please do remember the lesson from MySpace China. If Mark want a success for Facebook in China, he should be bold enough to leave the local team decide how they are going to localize the service. MySpace failed in the end.
Personally, I am not that excited about the rumor, I am using Facebook but I only hope I can access it from China. Setting up an office in China? Why, why, why? Last week, I was invited to write an article for the newspaper 21st century business herald about Facebook. I wrote,
The ultimate goal for Chinese social networks is to go IPO one day, but Facebook’s vision is to change the world.
There is different philosophy here. So Facebook, I just hope you would not compromise your dream with $$$ and local internet culture.
International users are eager to see how Facebook will be doing in China, but for local Chinese users, do we really care?