Social networking giant Facebook may finally have found a way to do business the world’s most populous country. According to new (but unconfirmed) reports out of China, Facebook’s partnered with Baidu and will help establish a fresh social site as a joint venture.
The move would make sense for a number of reasons. Consider that Facebook itself is banned in China, and Mark Zuckerberg would risk incurring all sorts of negative press if he tailored it to allow for government censorship (or worse yet, government spying). Launching a new Chinese site on his own would be risky, too, since local rivals would have big head starts in terms of built-in audiences.
As for what Baidu would get out of the deal, it simply comes down to Facebook’s social networking expertise, which is impossible to deny.
Then we should take into account the fact that Facebook and Baidu have been getting quite cozy in the last four or so months, with Mark Zuckerberg touring Baidu’s headquarters, a Baidu exec suggesting Facebook enter China, and a group of Baidu’s leaders supposedly visiting Facebook in California.
Anyway, the original report about Facebook and Baidu forming a partnership came from Sohu.com, quoting “unidentified employees at the Chinese search-engine company,” and it was in part translated by Mark Lee.
Not much in the way of additional details is available at this time, and the launch date of whatever the two companies may be working remains a complete mystery. Be sure to stay tuned for further developments.