Facebook: China is top Asia software partner, despite block

China is still be a huge challenge for Facebook, but the company isn't ignoring it. In fact, about one fifth of Facebook's partner network in Asia comes from the world's most populous country.

Facebook may be blocked in China since 2009, but the company revealed today that despite this, the country is its largest source of software app development partners in Asia. Last year, Menlo Park set up an office in Hong Kong with the goal of winning business from advertisers targeting overseas customers.

The company says Chinese app developers are leveraging Facebook to reach users overseas. In fact, app developers from China make up about 20 percent of Facebook's partner network in Asia, David Lim, a partner engineer at the company's mobile developer relations division, told Bloomberg.

When Facebook filed for its $5 billion initial public offering (IPO) last month, there were more than just numbers published by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In fact, China was mentioned nine times in the company's SEC filing.

Here are the relevant references:

  • We would also face competition from companies in China such as Renren, Sina, and Tencent in the event that we are able to access the market in China in the future.
  • For example, access to Facebook has been or is currently restricted in whole or in part in China, Iran, North Korea, and Syria.
  • For example, we continue to evaluate entering China. However, this market has substantial legal and regulatory complexities that have prevented our entry into China to date.
  • In China, where Facebook access is restricted, we have near 0 percent penetration.
  • China is a large potential market for Facebook, but users are generally restricted from accessing Facebook from China. We do not know if we will be able to find an approach to managing content and information that will be acceptable to us and to the Chinese government. It is also possible that governments of one or more other countries may seek to censor content available on our website, restrict access, block our website, or impose other restrictions that may affect the accessibility of Facebook for an extended period of time or indefinitely.

Despite all these obstacles, Facebook is still pushing forward into China. The company may not have a very big user base there because of the government's censorship policies, but that doesn't mean it's not looking to China to further grow its business.

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