Facebook interns are smarter than your CEO. Image by Paul Butler
Business Insider quoted an anonymouse saying that China wants to buy a big piece of Facebook. Gordon Chang, a China skeptic, hyperbowls that China wants to buy Facebook. The broad idea is that China may want some ownership before they let Facebook in.
Dark Of The Moon
World Map of Social Networks by vincos.it
As you can see from the World Map of Social Networks above, it’s not like China is completely dark social networking wise. It’s just that it isn’t normal. If Facebook is a Gucci bag, the Chinese version would be QZone.
For every possible internet business China has a knock-off. Why? Partly because international companies don’t want to deal with their onerous and often evil censorship policies, but also because China likes to control the players in the game. It’s notoriously hard to set up any Chinese business without a local partner. Online is no different.
A Very Profitable And Highly Populated Moon
The GeoSocial Universe, via TechCrunch
We’re not talking about chicken feed here. Chinese social networks are huge and highly competitive (in the sense that the government doesn’t allow anyone else to compete). QZone is already one of the biggest social networks in the world, nipping at the heels of Facebook just as Facebook’s growth is starting to slow down.
The broad takeaway of the China buying Facebook shares story (rumor?) is that ‘Oh my God the Chinese are coming’. The more subtle take is, as Business Insider puts it:
One big reason American firms stumble in China is that the government tends to favor locals when it comes to regulation. One way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to allow the governement to own a stake.
Mark Zuckerberg (Google Plus) is learning Chinese and obviously has an interest. So he may have a strategy to play along. This could play out in three general ways.
- Trojan Horse: China lets Facebook in, Chinese people overthrow the government
- Horse: China lets Facebook in, Chinese people do not over throw the government
- Donkey: China lets Facebook in, converts it to something unrecognizable and lets its police state ride the abomination like a mule
So how is this going to play out? I have no idea. I just know that it must piss Zuckerberg off, having no more access to China than the dark side of the moon.