Facebook has set up a subsidiary in China and plans to create an “innovation hub” to support local –startups and developers. For years, Facebook’s services have been blocked in China, where the Government maintains a strict level of control over internet traffic within its borders. According to regulatory filings viewed by Reuters, Facebook has established a subsidiary in Hangzhou, hitting at the corporation’s entry into the Chinese market.
The subsidiary is registered in Hangzhou, Home of e-commerce giant Alibaba. The Facebook representative said –
“We are interested in setting up an innovation hub in Zhejiang to support Chinese developers, innovators, and start-ups.”
Facebook has created similar hubs in the France, Brazil, India, and Korea to focus on training and workshops. The subsidiary is backed by $30 million investment. Though WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook remain inaccessible in China. Facebook has made numerous efforts over the past decade to enter the Chinese market without vexing the country’s stringent internet regulators.
Setting up a company-owned enterprise in China does not mean Facebook is changing its approach in the country as the company said that it was still learning what it takes to be in China. Because last year Facebook’s messaging app WhatsApp was blocked in the run-up to the country’s twice-a-decade congress, and it has remained mostly unavailable since.
Moreover, censorship controls have hardened under Xi Jinping, who was formally appointed as president in 2013. US tech firms with blocked content are increasingly looking for new ways to enter the market without drawing the ire of regulators. Apple has also modified its app stores to fit Chinese censorship restrictions in the past year. Apple removed hundreds of apps at the request of regulators.
According to Facebook’s recent filing, the wholly-owned Chinese subsidiary’s operations will include network information technology development and related services, investment consultancy and marketing planning.