Before diving in, we should perhaps remind everyone that trademarks don’t mean a lot in China. Knockoffs of all sorts are produced in massive quantities. But not long after Mark Zuckerberg toured the country and met with business leaders, Facebook’s name has been spotted in connection with a Chinese social network.
Some info to orient you: Tencent Holdings Limited is a Chinese tech company that reported $1.8 billion in revenue in 2009. It owns a popular messaging platform along with a lot of other social properties. And Tencent also owns the social network in question, PengYou.com. So while the circumstances are doubtful, they can’t be dismissed.
Moving on, then, it seems some sort of Facebook authentication option was seen on PengYou.com. Mobinode reader Yu Junde captured a screenshot, and writer Gang Lu explained afterward, "If you choose an oversea school/university for your education profile, the Facebook authentication will show up."
Not much else is known because no one’s gotten the authentication process to work. So we may be looking at an early mockup of a tie-in, or just a mistake or joke.
Anyway, now more than ever, Facebook definitely has reason to want to do business in China. A fresh report indicates that there are 450 million Internet users in the country, compared to the entire U.S. population of 310 million.