Following Facebook’s quiet attempts to re-enter China is a study in patient persistence. We have seen Mark Zuckerberg’s personal diplomacy including learning the language and using it at local appearances. Recently the company’s photo app, Moments, was launched in China through a local partner under the culturally friendly name Colorful Balloons. Though Facebook itself has been banned since 2009 for political reasons, the government seems to be letting Colorfull Ballons fly for the time being. The latest report is that the company is searching for office space in Shanghai.
Facebook’s desire to get back into China is obvious given the size of the market and given its absence relative to other Asia-Pacific counties. A Kantar TNS study shows that Facebook is the most used social network in the region with an average usage of 83.5% in 15 Asia-Pacific countries. By comparison, usage in China is estimated to be a mere 19% and those users are circumventing the government with VPNs. Source: eMarketer.