Of course Facebook is going to China.
And unlike Google, they will be smart enough to enter with a well-connected partner and not screw it up. Baidu and Sohu know how to play the government game and who to get the money to. They know which buttons not to push.
Facebook would do well to leverage that expertise.
Eric Savitz at Forbes has the scoop on Facebook’s foray…
Facebook reportedly has signed a deal with Baidu (BIDU) to set up a social-networking web site in China. The news was reported by Sohu.com, citing unnamed employees at Baidu, and passed on by Bloomberg.The story notes that the arrangement follows recent meetings in China between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Baidu CEO Robin Li. The new site would not be integrated with Facebook’s existing service, and a start date is “not confirmed.”
The opportunity is ridiculous – online advertising in China is expected to triple to $13 billion over the next 3 years. Zuckerberg appears to have learned the lessons of Eric Schmidt’s disastrous misstep. Should he partner with a dominant Chinese web power, the homegrown social networks won’t be able to have him dislodged merely for being non-Chinese.