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Facebook looks to China, Russia and Japan

By Alec Meer

Mon 25 Oct 2010 9:09am GMT / 5:09am EDT / 2:09am PDT
Emerging MarketsOnline

Zuckerberg: "How can you connect the world if you leave out 1bn people?"

Leading Western social network Facebook is planning to expand to China, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has revealed.

"How can you connect the whole world if you leave out a billion people?" he said during a talk at Stanford University last week.

"Western companies haven't typically had a huge amount of success in a few of the Eastern countries. Facebook has been no exception."

In fact, Facebook has been blocked in China for the time being, but Zuckerberg hopes to create a version that plays ball with the government's heavy censorship policies.

"My view is you want to be really culturally sensitive. China has values that are somewhat different from the US... I don't want Facebook to be an American company. I don't want it to be a company that spreads American values across the world."

However, he felt that Facebook must conquer Russian, South Korea and Japan first.

"We have to carve off China. That one is extremely complex and has its own dynamics," he said. "Our theory is that if we can show that we as a Western company can succeed in a place where no other country has, then we can start to figure out the right partnerships we would need to succeed in China on our terms."

While Zuckerberg did not detail game support plans for these territories, Western gaming firms that have established themselves in China have seen huge success.

Around six million World of Warcraft subscribers half of the game's total playerbase hail from China.

Meanwhile, FarmVille owner Zynga has established premises in China.

The Chinese online games market may be worth over $9 billion by 2014, according to recent projections.

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