Home Facebook Targets Chinese Market

Facebook Targets Chinese Market

Social networking site Facebook has launched a Chinese-language version of its web site. Users logging into the site from the Chinese mainland are now being redirected to zh-cn.facebook.com, where users can choose between a version in simplified or traditional Chinese.

Facebook has already launched a fair number of internationalized versions of its service, including a German, French and Spanish edition. Given that most of Facebook’s growth at this point is coming from outside of the United States, it only makes sense for Facebook to target the rapidly growing Chinese Internet market, which now boasts a larger online population than the US.

There was a flurry of rumors in November 2007 that Facebook was looking into acquiring Zhanzuo.com, one of a number of mid-sized Chinese social networks with about seven million users. That acquisition, however, never materialized. Currently, the largest social network in China is 51.com with over 60 million users.

Facebook’s largest competitor, MySpace already launched a Chinese-language version of its site in 2006.

Besides the translation, it doesn’t look as if Facebook made any changes to its layout to cater to the Chinese speaking market.

Facebook is entering an already crowded market in China and it remains to be seen if it can establish itself against the bevy of clones and original services such as Xiaonei, Zhanzuo, 51.com, and Xiaoyou that have already established themselves there by now. It will also be interesting to see if Facebook will try to pursue a different monetization strategy for the Chinese market similar to what Twitter is doing for its Japanese version.

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