Facebook tries to enter China incognito

12 August, 2017, 22:36 | Author: Pamela Mathis
  • Facebook allows Moments-like app to be launched in China

The release of such an app, that is, one from a company with ties to Facebook, has never happened before, save for WhatsApp, which China recently put an end to. The app, called Colorful Balloons, is similar to Facebook's Moments application in function and feel, but does not carry the Facebook name. But by Facebook showing such eagerness, China presumably knows they have the upper hand, allowing it to force wishful, foreign tech companies to capitulate to their demands.

Facebook is blocked in China, and so are many other USA apps. "It also highlights how far they are willing to go, and their recognition of the idea that the standards for working in China differ from other countries", write the journalists.

Facebook has long struggled to enter the Chinese market, with attempts to learn Mandarin and negotiate with Chinese authorities rendering no success. Released by a company named Youge Internet Technology, Colorful Balloons has not been reported in any form since The Times picked it up, and there's fear that China might now take notice and implement appropriate action.

It's not clear if China's internet regulators are aware of Colorful Balloons' connection to Facebook. It is registered to an address in eastern Beijing, yet the room number listed in company registration documents could not be found amid a series of shabby, small offices on the building's fourth floor.

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Facebook had to use audacious methods to circumvent the obstacles the Chinese government imposes.

Facebook chief and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has made high-profile visits to China and met with political leaders there, and is even studying Mandarin.

The company's director is Zhang Jingmei. In the photo, she was sitting beside Wang-Li Moser an executive with Facebook.

The app, which is created to collate photos from a smartphone's photo albums and then share them, does so in China with the use of a QR code, a sort of bar code that is widely used by WeChat and other apps in the country. For example, people who post photos from Colorful Balloons on WeChat will see a link that lets other users download Facebook's Chinese app.

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