Facebook Probably Not Coming to China After All

By Tom Smith, July 26, 2018

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It appears that Facebook’s tentative return to China was very short lived indeed. 

For several hours, it looked like Facebook had been given the green light to open a subsidiary in Hangzhou, which would have been used to set up an innovation hub. 

READ MORE: Facebook is Coming to China... Sort Of

The news saw the shares of Facebook related Chinese companies soar, such as Blue Focus Intelligent Communications Group Co Ltd, who saw their shares increase by 10 percent.

However, the joy was short lived as late on Tuesday evening the registration was pulled from the database, and certain references to it were censored in the Chinese media. 

An unnamed source familiar with the case has told the New York Times that the approval has been withdrawn, citing a disagreement between officials in Zhejiang and the national internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), as the reason. Representatives for Facebook, the CAC and the Zhejiang provincial government have not released a comment.

The incident highlights the difficulties that Facebook has in trying to gain a foothold into the Chinese market. 

The social media network has been blocked in China for nearly a decade, and has a long history of trying to court Chinese approval.

Image by That's
In 2014, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised Xi Jinping's book, The Governance of China. Image by Erik Crouch/That's

Despite these efforts, Facebook seems to have further angered Chinese officials, which will almost certainly make any progress even more unlikely. 

READ MORE: Has Facebook Developed Software to Enter China Market?

In yet more disappointing news for the company, Wednesday saw its shares drop by over 20 percent, after both revenue and user growth failed to meet investor expectations. 

Its number of monthly active users was up 11 percent in June 2017, which is the platform's slowest growth in over two years. The company also warned that spending growth would likely surpass revenue gains in 2019.

These figures suggest Facebook may be suffering in the wake of the fake news scandal, which has dogged the company in recent months. 

[Image via Pexels]

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