If Facebook reenters China, how will it compete?

chinese facebookFacebook has been blocked in China since 2009, when riots in the country’s Xinjiang region led to severe crackdowns on Internet use. Since then, statements from Chinese officials and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have hinted at the possibility of cooperation between the two, if a compromise between the nation’s overbearing censorship and Facebook’s “openness” can be reached.

Now it looks as though… something is going on. What exactly that may be is still up in the air, but numerous reports say Facebook is working with China to come up with a solution. According to Marbridge Consulting as well as a few blogs, a post on Sina Weibo from Hu Yan Ping, the founder of a Chinese market research firm claims that Facebook will be collaborating with Baidu to build an entirely new social networking site. Ping wrote, “Facebook really is about to enter China, the agreement is signed. A domestic website will work with Facebook to create a new site. This new site it not interlinked with Facebook.com. Will this live or die in China?”

It’s a legitimate question. Chinese blogging and social media services are becoming increasingly popular, even internationally. If Facebook (or a Facebook-led production) wants to make an impression in the country it needs to move fast. So what exactly would this new site, or even Facebook, have to compete with?

Sina Weibo

sinaweiboSina Weibo is China’s version of Twitter and has Sina, the largest Chinese web portal, behind it. It’s been around since 2009, but skyrocketed to mass popularity within the last year, reaching well past 100 million users. It’s also well-used among the celebrity set. According to Bill Bishop, who analyzed the site last month, “it is a better designed and more stable product, and Sina’s product roadmap appears to have it heading towards a robust SNS, almost like Facebook.” Sina Weibo combines elements of many popular social platforms, including polling, group buying, and applications.

It’s currently moving over to a new doman, Weibo.com, and rumored to be looking at an initial public offering.


qzoneTencent is most well known as China’s largest Internet company, and has recently decided to capitalize on that moniker by introducing new social networking services. The site offers social gaming, networking, and instant messaging, and is hugely profitable. Its social networking platform specifically is called Qzone and runs the full gamut of social applications, including blogs and photo sharing. It is arguably the world’s largest social network and claims to have more than 200 million users.


renrenAnother extremely popular social service is Renren, which has been around since 2005. It’s the most similar to Facebook among its Chinese competitor sites, and includes many of the same applications (like Places, Groups, etc). Its UI is almost the most familiar to Facebook’s, and just like its western counterpart, it has found a following among college students. It claims to have somewhere between 150 and 160 million users, and exists with an open platform allowing outside development and integration.

Smart Home

Busted: Facebook Portal gets 5-star reviews from company employees

It's fair to say that Facebook's Portal smart display received a tepid response at launch, so it was something of a surprise to see lots of glowing reviews of the device on Amazon. Turns out some were written by Facebook workers.
Social Media

Nearly a million Facebook users followed these fake Russian accounts

Facebook purged two separate groups behind more than 500 fake accounts with Russian ties. One group had ties to Russian news agency Sputnik, while the other had behavior similar to the Internet Research Agency's midterm actions.
Social Media

Nearly 75 percent of U.S. users don’t realize Facebook tracks their interests

Did you know Facebook tracks your interests, including political and multicultural affiliations? According to a recent Pew study, 74 percent of adult users in the U.S. have no idea Facebook keeps a running list of your interests.
Social Media

Invite your friends — Facebook Events can now be shared to Stories

Facebook is testing a way to make plans with friends to attend an event -- through Stories. By sharing an event in Facebook Stories, users can message other friends interested in the event to make plans to attend together.
Social Media

Instagram now lets you post to multiple accounts in one tap

Instagram for iPhone now lets you post to multiple accounts at the same time. It's not the regram feature that many users have been asking for, but it could prove useful for some users who manage more than one profile.
Social Media

No yolk! A photo of an egg has become the most-liked post on Instagram

Until this weekend, the most-liked post on Instagram was of Kylie Jenner's baby daughter, which has around 18 million likes. It's now been knocked off the top spot not by a stunning sunset or even a cute cat, but by an egg.
Social Media

A quick swipe will soon let you keep bingeing YouTube on mobile devices

The YouTube mobile app has a new, faster way to browse: Swiping. Once the update rolls out, users can swipe to go to the next (or previous) video in the recommended list, even while viewing in full screen.

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.
Social Media

Twitter extends its new timeline feature to Android users

Twitter users with an Android device can now quickly switch between an algorithm-generated timeline and one that shows the most recent tweets first. The new feature landed for iPhone users last month.
Social Media

YouTube to crack down on dangerous stunts like the ‘Bird Box’ challenge

YouTube already bans content showing dangerous activities, but new rules published by the site go into greater detail regarding potentially harmful challenges and pranks, including certain blindfold- or laundry detergent-based stunts.

It’s back! Here’s how to switch to Twitter’s reverse chronological feed

Twitter has finally brought back the reverse chronological feed, allowing you to see your feed based on the newest tweets, rather than using Twitter's algorithm that shows what it thinks you want to see. It's easy to switch.
Social Media

Twitter suffers privacy scare as bug reveals tweets of protected accounts

If you set your Twitter account to private and you have an Android device, you'd better check your settings now. Twitter says it's just fixed a four-year-old bug that flipped the privacy switch to make the account public.

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.