Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spotted in China

Tim Cook wasn't the only CEO who decided to hop a plane to China early last week. Also spotted on the streets of China was Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who was seen strolling about town with his girlfriend

Tim Cook wasn't the only CEO who decided to hop a plane to China early last week. Also spotted on the streets of China was Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who was seen strolling about town with his girlfriend.

The sighting naturally fueled speculation that Zuckerberg and co. are growing ever so closer to bringing Facebook to China. China of course remains a huge untapped market for Facebook but given the country's tight grip on issues pertainnig to privacy and the like, it remains to be seen what a Facebook experience in China would look like. As it stands now, Facebook has been blocked in China for a few years now.

The New York Times reports:

About 450,000 people in China access Facebook and other banned sites using proxies, tunnels or VPN software. Even so, China ranks a measly 101st on the Facebook global list, well behind the likes of Congo (90), Albania (78) and Bangladesh (55), according to figures on socialbalkers.

In reviewing Facebook’s recent filing for a public offering of stock, my colleague Brian Chen reported on the Bits blog that the company had a penetration rate of less than 15 percent in Japan and South Korea. In China, the filing documents said, Facebook has a near zero percent penetration.

“We continue to evaluate entering China,” Facebook said. “However, this market has substantial legal and regulatory complexities that have prevented our entry into China to date.”

Should Facebook arrive in China, there's no guarantee it will be a hit as China already has a few well-established players in the social network space. Also, remember that Google's efforts to become a significant player in search in China ultimately failed due to competition in the Chinese search market coupled with Chinese censorship issues.

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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