Facebook has no chance in China yet

According to a Facebook senior official this was despite Zuckerberg and his team's efforts to convince Chinese officials to remove the country’s ban on the social network site

Photo: YouTube screengrab

Facebook is not making any headway in doing business with China.

This was according to a Facebook senior official, who chose to be unidentified, in a recent report. Earlier, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg cited the American social media network will soon be developing a new ‘privacy-focused’ communications tool.

Since 2009, Mr Zuckerberg’s team and Facebook have exerted all their efforts to convince Chinese officials to remove the country’s ban in letting the social network penetrate the most populous country in the world.

With a population of 1.4 billion people, China remains a big heartbreak for Facebook as it is still unable to penetrate this Asian superpower.

Globally, this social media giant takes pride in its 2.7 billion users. Facebook provides various services such as Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, and its famous network. Currently, it is steadily reaching its saturation point in most nations in different corners of the world.

When asked by investors how the company is setting a new vision for its growth in the future, Facebook is remaining mum about getting China in as a partner.

The source, who shared his insights and has no plans to divulge his identity in public, noted while Facebook is very eager to establish cross-border ventures, there are no visible signs of entering China or at least attaining a simple deal on any operational infrastructure in the country.

In one of Mr Zuckerberg’s recent notes, he stressed, “As we build our infrastructure around the world, we’ve chosen not to build data centers in countries that have a track record of violating human rights like privacy or freedom of expression.”

“If we build data centers and store sensitive data in these countries, rather than just caching non-sensitive data, it could make it easier for those governments to take people’s information.”

No comment has been made by a Facebook source regarding Mr Zuckerberg’s remarks.

Failed attempts
Getting into China has long been a dream for Facebook. Several attempts were held in the previous years to try the team’s luck to be part of China’s history.

Based on a New York Times’ report in 2016, Facebook tried to employ a special censorship platform that sought to suppress posts, a plan of action while rubbing shoulders with the China government that does not cater to free expression.

Mr Zuckerberg made an effort to learn Mandarin, participated in Tsinghua University’s business school’s advisory board, and did everything to meet President Xi Jinping to discuss his proposal.

Last year, Facebook got approval to provide a subsidiary in the eastern province of Zhejiang. But this was not enough to get China’s full trust on what Facebook can offer.

In another Zuckerberg note, he cited, “upholding this principle” where the company identifies its data servers prevents Facebook’s services from being used in some nations or being blocked in other territories.

Reportedly, Russia is on the verge of passing a law that limits data sharing with internet companies among Russian citizens in storing data on local servers within its borders.

“That’s the tradeoff we’re willing to make,” the Facebook CEO said.

“We do not believe storing people’s data in some countries is a secure enough foundation to build such important internet infrastructure on,” he added.

Mr Zuckerberg’s recent post on the company’s vision remains unclear. He hits on the issue of making a significant shift from its previous “open and connected” tools towards building people’s privacy. This is the area that the company has failed to accomplish.

The source made it crystal clear that Facebook has no plans or opportunities at the moment to enter China. Despite Mr. Zuckerberg painstaking efforts, it will not happen in the “the foreseeable future.”

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