Published: Wed, July 25, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Facebook opening $30M subsidiary in China

Facebook opening $30M subsidiary in China

Facebook said on Tuesday it planned to create an "innovation hub" to support local start-ups. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg made personal appeals to the Chinese Communist Party's top brass, including learning Mandarin and taking a notorious "smog jog" through Tiananmen Square, braving toxic air pollution for a photo op in 2016.

The Facebook subsidiary has been registered in the southern China city of Hangzhou and financed with an investment of £30m, according to the details of the filing, which were seen by Reuters and the New York Times on China's National Enterprise Credit Information, before they were removed. In the West, they tend to dominate the online landscape, but they have been blocked from making serious inroads into China's market.

"We have done this in several parts of the world - France, Brazil, India, Korea - and our efforts would be focused on training and workshops that help these developers and entrepreneurs to innovate and grow", the spokesman added. Initial capital is $30 million.

After years of being banned in China, Facebook has obtained a license to open a subsidiary office.

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Last month, Facebook told a U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee that four of its 60 past data-sharing agreements were with Chinese hardware manufacturers. It was released by Youge Internet Technology, the New York Times reported.

This innovation lab is a far cry from Facebook being available to people in China, at least legally - it has been blocked since 2009.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the annual F8 summit at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California on May 1, 2018.

Instead, Chinese users can only access domestic social media sites such as Weibo, Renren and YouKu, which the government can monitor. The company scouted for space in Shanghai past year and obtained a permit to open an office in Beijing in 2015. "Facebook's integrations with Huawei, Lenovo, OPPO and TCL were controlled from the get-go, and we approved the Facebook experiences these companies built", Francisco Varela, VP of mobile partnerships for Facebook, said in a statement in June.

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