After 2009 ban Facebook keen to re-enter China, analyst predicts

Facebook in China

Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s second term seems like would be an advantage for Facebook. Google renewed its license during the second term of Xi’s predecessor, Mizuho researchers and hence, now Facebook is trying its hand to enter China and favourably seems like it, would do very soon. Facebook representatives denied to comment it’s debut in China.

Nonetheless, it has been predicted that Facebook, recently hired a Beijing-based government relations executive. This means that Facebook is ‘filling places’.

It was said in a report by James Lee, managing director, Americas research, and Wei Fang, vice president, research, shared “During our recent China trip, our meetings with various industry contacts indicated that FB could have a realistic opportunity for entering China next year.”

The the Mizuho report said “For example, Google successfully renewed its ICP license [for operating in China] during the second term of the prior President Hu Jintao.” He reiterated “We believe the recent approvals of MNC internet companies such as LinkedIn and Airbnb are signs China is more open to internet companies that can help Chinese companies gain global recognition through advertising or facilitate economic growth through travel.”

Facebook recently hit 2 billion monthly active users in the second quarter, but it has been blocked in mainland China for at least 8 years now.

Internet penetration in China is growing and reached 53.2 percent in 2016, with 731 million users, according to a January report from the China Internet Network Information Center.

Facebook’s recent appointment of an executive to manage relations with China will help the company “understand the regulatory requirement and negotiate Facebook’s operating structure in China,” said Lee in the note, a copy of which was obtained by Business Insider.

Facebook’s current approach of helping Chinese advertisers sell ads overseas “appears to be aligned with Chinese government’s policy to globalize local companies,” and could finally lead to the company securing the coveted Internet Content Provider (ICP) license needed to officially do business in China.

Facebook has been officially banned from doing business in China since 2009, and parts of its WhatsApp service within the country’s borders. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has courted Chinese officials for years, and even spent one year learning to speak Mandarin.

One way Facebook has experimented with getting back into China is by creating a censorship tool that automatically suppresses certain posts in specific geographic areas, Facebook has never confirmed the existence of the tool though.

Zuckerberg initially said he was hesitant to take aggressive action against hoaxes and misinformation, stating: “I believe we must be extremely cautious about becoming arbiters of truth ourselves.”

Unless Facebook makes major changes to its platform for China, its launch there would be like Myspace relaunching in the US: a relic of a bygone age that might generate some initial interest based on novelty and nostalgia, but with little hope for long-term success.

However, ‘Time‘ speaks better in this case!