A partnership between Facebook and Chinese search giant Baidu - long the subject of rumors and speculation - might be closer than ever. An unconfirmed report indicates that Baidu execs are visiting Facebook in California for the sake of discussing a deal.
Bill Bishop, who's bilingual and thereby able to read the original story, wrote yesterday, "Sina News reported on Friday afternoon that unnamed Baidu executives have flown to Silicon Valley to discuss possible cooperation with Facebook."
That would fit an established pattern of behavior. First Mark Zuckerberg visited Baidu's headquarters in December. Then a Baidu exec called for Facebook to enter China, and Facebook opened an ad sales office in Hong Kong.
So it's easy to imagine another meeting would follow, perhaps along with a formal arrangement.
And on that note, Bishop later wrote, "What might a Baidu-Facebook partnership look like? I have no insider knowledge, but that won't stop me from speculating. It would probably take the form of a joint venture for China to launch a China-specific, sanitized version of Facebook that would have limited if any linkages and data sharing with the global, ex-China Facebook."
As always, we'll be sure to report any significant updates.