Facebook in China? Not exactly
Facebook might be banned in China, but that hasn’t stopped the social network market leader quietly launching an app there in May. The app in question is not Facebook’s eponymous social networking app, nor is it anything to do with either of the company’s other famous names, Messenger and Instagram. Rather, it’s an entirely new platform: a photo-sharing app called Colourful Balloons.
The form and functionality is similar to Facebook’s Moments app, which lets users share photos with friends and family. But it doesn’t interact with Facebook’s own banned social network – it works alongside China’s biggest social network, WeChat.
Facebook’s share price is up by 46% so far this year
Source: Yahoo Finance
Facebook launched the app through a local company. It’s got no Facebook branding, and The Verge reports that the company “appears to have taken efforts to ensure that it doesn’t spread widely.”
Facebook was banned in China in 2009, and founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been on a charm offensive ever since in an effort to get back into the country. That includes meeting with public officials, reportedly working on software for the country that helps suppress posts from appearing in a specific geographic area, and even giving public speeches in the local lingo. According to the New York Times, though, his latest attempt to get back in – through Colourful Balloons – is “unprecedented”.
The Cyberspace Administration of China has not responded to a request for comment, but Facebook itself has spoken out about the app’s launch. The company said it is: “spending time understanding and learning more about the country in different ways. Our focus right now is on helping Chinese businesses and developers expand to new markets outside China by using our ad platform.”
Dominion holds Facebook in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.
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