Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is Changing his China Tactics

Posted by Greg | October 18, 2010  |  3 Comments

Although Mark Zuckerberg’s depiction in The Social Network was all but flattering, the man definitely knows how to make his billions. As it stands currently, Facebook is completely blocked in China. It seems like Facebook may be trying to change this and break its way in to the Chinese market in the near future. This announcement of a planned change in tactics came from the mouth of the CEO himself during an interview at Y Combinator’s entrepreneurship/startup school yesterday.

Zuckerberg admited that for years his company never really had a strategic plan for international growth. Basically for the last few years, his company would open in a seemingly random country with little apparent pattern. This plan worked well in most countries around the world, but hasn’t done so well in Asia. Countries like China, Japan, South Korea, and even Russia have never picked up on the Facebook craze.

China is extremely complex – Mark Zuckerberg

With that understanding in hand Zuckerberg believes that meticulously preparing a plan is important before approaching the most populous country on the planet. He’s hoping that if Facebook can succeed in a country where no other western company has before, like Russia, then he’ll have an idea of what’s needed to do it in China (unlike Google). Obviously there are HUGE differences between Russia and China, both socially and politically, but the concept of a thought out strategy is needed for both.

Historically, Zuckerberg’s approach to entering new countries has been to respect the cultural differences in each region. Germany is a great example of this, where it’s illegal to post content online about Nazism. Facebook in turn blocks all related content, allowing the company to focus on what it’s best at, social networking. Facebook has a similar policy in Pakistan, where it’s illegal to post drawings of Muhammad. If he adopts the same policies in China he may be much more successful than others have been in the past.

How can you connect the whole world if you leave out 1.6 billion people? – Mark Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg says that he’s been spending a lot of time personally examining the Chinese language and culture with daily lessons to prepare for this move. We probably shouldn’t be surprised about this considering his long time girlfriend and now fiancée, Priscilla Chan, is Chinese-American. Considering what Chinese Netizens have been saying about his Fiancée he honestly may just be doing all this to save face.

Sources: TechCrunch

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