Feeds

Facebook's IPO unveils plans to invade China

Social network would love to tap that

The next step in data security

Not content with almost total domination in Western markets, social networking behemoth Facebook could be planning an assault on China if it can just do a deal with the authorities there, its latest regulatory filing has revealed.

The firm’s IPO filing with the SEC last week provided commentators with a wealth of interesting information, from its plan to raise $5bn to its belief in following the Hacker Way as a kind of corporate management mantra.

It also made several notable mentions of China and the opportunities its vast but as-yet-untapped market could offer.

“We may enter new international markets where we have limited or no experience in marketing, selling, and deploying our products. For example, we continue to evaluate entering China,” it said.

“However, this market has substantial legal and regulatory complexities that have prevented our entry into China to date. If we fail to deploy or manage our operations in international markets successfully, our business may suffer.”

The filing also notes that any expansion into the region would see Facebook come up against fierce local competition, with social networking sites Renren, Sina and Tencent mentioned by name.

Of those, Sina has probably garnered the most column inches outside of China thanks to its insanely popular Weibo (microblogging) service.

With an online population which has just exceeded 500 million, it’s no wonder that Facebook and its Silicon Valley chums are eager to get their claws into China, but strict web censorship laws and other rules restricting foreign companies make cracking the market incredibly difficult.

It certainly became too much for Google to bear, after the web giant famously pulled its search operation from China and relocated its servers to Hong Kong, although the firm now seems set on ramping up its activities in the region once again.

In November 2011, China’s biggest tech companies including Baidu, Lenovo and China Telecom agreed to tighter internet censorship in order to reduce the spread of rumours, online fraud and pornography. Just days later the authorities posted lengthy new press guidelines in order to quell an apparent growing trend of “false news and false reports".

Given that these heavy-handed tactics could be seen as the government’s response to the rise of home-grown social media and especially Twitter-style microblogging sites, it is extremely unlikely that Facebook will get its own way in China, something the firm pretty much admitted to elsewhere in the filing.

“China is a large potential market for Facebook, but users are generally restricted from accessing Facebook from China. We do not know if we will be able to find an approach to managing content and information that will be acceptable to us and to the Chinese government,” it said. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.