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Facebook: 'substantial complexities' to entering China

February 1, 2012 |  3:06 pm

Mark Zuckerberg Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg has a Chinese girlfriend and told Oprah Winfrey he was taking Chinese lessons, but that doesn't mean he'll be taking his social media network into China any time soon.

In its IPO filing Wednesday, Facebook Inc. said it would continue expanding its operations abroad and noted that Facebook is currently available in 70 languages and has offices or data centers in more than 20 countries. 

The company noted that while it will "continue to evaluate entering China," the market there has "substantial legal and regulatory complexities that have prevented our entry into China to date." 

"If we fail to deploy or manage our operations in international markets successfully, our business may suffer," Facebook said. "In addition, we are subject to a variety of risks inherent in doing business internationally." 

Those risks, Facebook said, include political, social or economic stability; fluctuations in currency exchange rates; burdens of complying with foreign laws; and difficulties in staffing and managing global operations.

There has been been no secret to Facebook's interest in breaking into China, which has hundreds of millions of Internet users and is relatively new to social networking.

Zuckerberg took a widely publicized vacation to China in December 2010, where he met with top technology executives in Beijing, including the CEO of leading Chinese Web portal Sina Corp. and the chairman of state-owned telecommunications carrier China Mobile Ltd.

The Chinese government has blocked access to Facebook to its citizens since 2009. 


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-- Andrea Chang

Photo: Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard University in November. Credit: Kelvin Ma / Bloomberg