Earlier today, I reported on a story that said Facebook was entering the Chinese market with help from Baidu, the country's most popular search engine. The report said Facebook had signed an agreement with Baidu to set up a social networking website in China that would not be integrated with Facebook.com or any other flavor of the international service.
Facebook would not confirm or deny the news. "We are currently studying and learning about China, as part of evaluating any possible approaches that could benefit our users, developers and advertisers," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. As a result, I labeled the news a rumor.
Merely hours later, there's a new rumor saying Facebook is evaluating the Internet market in China but that the company has not signed a business deal with any companies there. This comes from a source familiar with the matter, cited by Reuters. Again, this is not Facebook confirming or denying what's happening, so this goes in the rumor box as well.
Regardless of which rumor ends up being correct, Baidu's shares have noticeably rose. Investors got a little excited that the largest search engine in China, the world's biggest Internet market by number of users, was apparently partnering with Facebook, the world’s biggest social network by number of users.