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Launched in February 2004, Facebook is a social networking service founded by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. Early investors include Microsoft and Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka- shing, through his namesake charitable foundation. Facebook’s US$16 billion initial public offering in May 2012 generated huge investor interest although the shares subsequently slumped in price.

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Facebook extends global reach with WhatsApp purchase - but not in China

Social media company has no immediate plan to use new acquisition to get its content unlocked

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 February, 2014, 12:08am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 February, 2014, 10:51am

Facebook has no immediate plans to use mobile-messaging provider WhatsApp, which the social network operator is acquiring for up to US$19 billion, as a means to unblock its content on the mainland.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and WhatsApp chief Jan Koum said in their conference call yesterday there would be no change to WhatsApp's operations worldwide.

"WhatsApp will continue to operate independently and autonomously," Koum said.

Zuckerberg added: "We'll find that there are different ways for the [two] organisations to work together, accelerate each other's growth, or to link over time, maybe, if we think of something, although that's not the plan upfront."

That strategy means Facebook will still have no presence on the mainland, which had 1.23 billion mobile subscribers and 618 million internet users at the end of December.

Facebook, which has 1.2 billion monthly active users worldwide and generated revenue of US$2.5 billion last year, has been blocked on the mainland since late 2009, after protests in Xinjiang turned into riots which authorities said were abetted by information carried on social media networks.

The South China Morning Post reported in September that Facebook and other banned sites would be available in the Shanghai free-trade zone.

WhatsApp, like other mobile-messaging apps such as Line and Viber, can be accessed on the mainland and is used to replace traditional text messaging.

WhatsApp has about 450 million monthly users worldwide and more than 320 million daily active users. Internet company Tencent's WeChat service is the most-used mobile-messaging app on the mainland, with more than 270 million monthly active users.

Dan Neary, Facebook's vice-president for Asia-Pacific operations, said the social network had engaged with companies on the mainland that wanted to market their products to consumers around the world. Facebook has more than one million online advertisers worldwide.

"We spend a lot of time directly, and via resellers, working with Chinese companies that want to do marketing beyond the mainland," Neary said. "We recognise China as the manufacturer for the world."

 

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SpeakFreely
How many places in the world of such a big economy has the "right" to block foreign website? China must strike a good deal with WTO pack. On the other note, this shows upward mobility is still abundant in US where mark Z and Jan Koum of whatapps, a Urkaine poor immigrant that family relied on food stamps, now is a billionaire. Both Mark and Koum had not completed university. In contrast, in HK where we we suppose to have a free economy, but we don't see upward mobility like this at all, at least in the last 20 years or so. We have been talking about knowledge based economy for a long long time, but our universities and school system had not produced anygreat entrepreneur in the past 20 years? At least I did not see any major tech IPO from local startup. Even Mr. Li Ka Shing has been actively investing in the Vally for high tech form FB to, Spotify, to now the latest "egg" technology. It is time for the 8 universities in hk to come up with a game plan to produce some real results, not just publishing paper in journals to get paid and fame....it is time to look at why 70% of our graduate students are from mainland and they have no intention to stay behind to create companies or startup like the success of Whatapps...
alex.hertz.127
Use VPN. Seed4.Me works top notch in China. I simply switched to VPN (seed4.me/invitations) - that's it! ^___^

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