Facebook Users in China Double Within a Month!
Almost out of nowhere, the number of Chinese Facebook users has more than doubled in the last month! This sharp increase in users has been linked to Mark Zuckerberg’s visit to Beijing in December. His visit created a huge buzz over the possibilities of Facebook making it’s full-on entry in to the Chinese market. It isn’t the fact that the increase happened in the first place that’s weird. What IS weird is when the increased happened.
Zuckerberg visited China in late-December, and met with some of China’s biggest internet and tech companies including Sina, Baidu, and Alibaba.
“I think more of us signed up for Facebook because of Mark Zuckerberg’s visit in China. His presence has somehow promoted Facebook in our country,” said Aileen Meng, a professional working in the Internet industry in Beijing China.
What’s weird is that the number of Chinese users didn’t begin to drastically increase until mid-January, long after Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook were out of the headlines. (see graph below)
If you didn’t already know, Facebook is blocked in China along with a few other social networking websites such as twitter. Also if you didn’t know, many Chinese travel over the Chinese New Years holiday to visit family living in other countries.
One theory is that as these holiday travelers found themselves out from behind The Great Firewall of China they began to set up accounts. Makes sense, as when I went home over the Christmas holiday I found myself spending at least 10x more time on Facebook than while here in China.
The opening of a Facebook office in Hong Kong has led to even further speculation that the social networking giant is planning to break in to the worlds largest market. As Mark Zuckerberg himself said “How can you connect the whole world if you leave out 1.6 billion people?”