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Facebook Accelerator To Help Chinese Startups Thrive Abroad

Jul 25, 2018 by A. Alfaro
Facebook Accelerator To Help Chinese Startups Thrive Abroad

The American social media behemoth Facebook plans to launch an innovation center to help Chinese startups bloom into successful companies, local news portal 36kr.com reports. The organization, more commonly called an “accelerator”, will be based in Zhejiang province.

The news of the company’s intentions was made public by a spokesman for the company during an interview to Bloomberg.

“We want to establish an innovation center in Zhejiang province (home to Alibaba) to support Chinese entrepreneurs, developers and startups.”

The innovation center will focus on training and seminars, helping the development of Chinese entrepreneurs, he explained.

36kr.com further added that the “accelerator” would help Chinese companies go abroad. The center could expand to other services in the future, the portal added.

Although the exact location has not yet been determined, Xiaoshan District in Hangzhou, the provincial capital, is a strong contender. The news comes a day after China learnt about the California-based company finally managing to start a subsidiary in the country.

As with Google and other foreign players, Facebook has had a rough ride trying to gain access to the lucrative China market.

Allegations that the social media or its subsidiary Instagram were used to fuel anti-establishment activism, made it an eyesore of the government.

Despite Tuesday’s news about the company opening a subsidiary in the country, Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp continue to remain banned in China.

Facebook Inc CEO Mark Zuckerberg has spent the last ten years trying to cultivate relations with the Chinese government.

These attempts include several interviews with high-ranked Chinese officials and a PR stunt that featured him jogging in Tiananmen Square.

There were even rumors that Facebook was considering a cooperation with Baidu to become operational in China.

Despite the ban, several various apps by Facebook have often popped up in China, gained some popularity and then either existed in silence or have disappeared as abruptly as they had mushroomed.

Last year, a photo app called Moments was launched in China.

Moments was a subsidiary of Facebook and shared many design characteristics with it.

Zhang Jingmei was the manager of that company. However, after the media hype the app was discontinued and currently, it is impossible to find it in app stores.

Facebook Technologies Hangzhou was registered this month, with Facebook Hong Kong Limited as its main shareholder and Zhang Jingmei as its legal representative.

The news has not been officially confirmed by Facebook but China’s official company regulatory body website does mention it.

https://cdn.thepassage.cc/filters:quality(70)/public/image/2018/07/Facebook1.jpg

A screenshot of China’s official company regulatory body website

The recent developments show that Facebook Inc has finally managed to set foot in China. It remains to be seen if Facebook’s main service would finally become accessible in China.

With the number of Facebook users declining, an entry into the Chinese market would help it compensate for the drop in user number elsewhere. But China already has its own social media giant: Tencent.

Even if Facebook’s social media services become available, its growth space remains limited. A safe guess would be that Facebook may not want to launch its social media service in the country for now.

More on The Passage - Facebook Starts a Subsidiary in China

A. Alfaro

A. Alfaro is a Beijing-based freelance reporter. He focuses on China's politics, culture and society. He can be reached at varofaro@gmail.com. 

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