Before 2009: How Did Facebook Enter the China Market?

Before 2009: How Did Facebook Enter the China Market?

Facebook in the Chinese ​Market Before 2009

Facebook ‍faced difficulty ⁣entering the Chinese ‌market before⁤ 2009 due‍ to the country’s various internet regulators and stance of barring U.S. consumer ⁢tech ⁤companies ‌from ‌gaining⁤ access. As the⁤ website’s user⁣ base was steadily‌ growing, the company began developing plans to try to obtain a foothold in ​the market.⁤ Notably, they commenced efforts⁢ in ‌January 2009 to try ‍to break the ⁤ice.

Initial Strategies

The ⁢initial strategies ​adopted by Facebook to garner entry in the‍ Chinese market ⁢were varied. Firstly, they had ‌to be‍ creative since the Chinese⁣ government was ‌steadfast ‌in denying their requests for⁢ access. One of the⁣ first attempts was a partnership with Liu Chunxue,​ who just a year prior had founded an education website called Xu judu in China. The original agreement sought ⁤to allow Facebook⁤ to display China-targeted⁤ ads on the Xu judu ⁣website by using some of Facebook’s⁢ code, while​ retaining most of the control ⁤of the⁤ platform with the Chinese investor. It⁢ was an ⁢ambitious idea given the political climate, but it‌ surprisingly worked, at least for a few months.

The Fall of the Plan

⁢The‌ plan didn’t last for the long-term. ⁤Eventually, Liu Chunxue was forced‌ to shut down Xu‌ judu to avoid ‍political pressure from ⁣the Chinese ‌government and‌ this left ⁢Facebook ⁣without⁣ an effective strategy⁤ to acquire entry. Moreover, due to the nature ‌of the partnerships ⁣with the investor, it was unclear⁣ whether China’s​ internet regulators were ever aware of the ‌website’s existence. ⁣Despite all​ the ‍attempts made by⁢ Facebook, the Chinese market still stayed out of reach in subsequent ​years until 2018, where many⁤ U.S. companies have ​now found a way to do business in the market. ⁤


Facebook’s aggressive entry strategies into⁤ the Chinese market back in 2009 were futile, though their ⁢strategies should be⁤ commended in ‍retrospect for their audacity. Chinese​ consumer tech regulation is a complex subject, ​but the ‍growing number⁢ of⁣ U.S.‍ companies successfully entering the ‌market shows that it is possible to make inroads. Good ⁤luck to‌ the⁢ rest of the companies that wish to follow in Facebook’s footsteps to ⁣explore this ⁤opportunity.

Introduction to Facebook’s Attempts At Entering China

Facebook’s ⁢ambitious‌ goal of​ entering the Chinese market ‌has⁣ been a long-term endeavor.​ As the largest country in the world and with a⁢ population of over 1.4 billion, China ​has shown immense resilience and interest in technology. ‌In ‌2016, the tech giant​ made several attempts to venture into Chinese market but ⁣was largely unsuccessful. This ⁣paper looks‍ into the strategies‌ and ⁤efforts made by ‌Facebook to enter China’s technology‍ ecosystem ​prior⁢ to 2009.

Background To ​China’s Online Market

The Chinese online market ‍has always been ‍a difficult one to ​navigate. China has a complex system of‌ legislation that regulates⁣ the online‍ sector, making⁢ it harder for ⁣foreign companies to penetrate the‍ market. In addition ‍to this, the Chinese government has put in ⁢place a number⁤ of⁣ restrictions on social ‍media websites, such as Facebook and‌ Twitter, that ⁢limit their reach in ⁤the ⁤country.

The Chinese⁢ government seeks ​to maintain control of the internet content ⁤within its‌ borders. This‌ is to ⁣prevent people from⁤ accessing sites and information that it ​deems ⁤to be unsuitable.​ It is also designed to protect its citizens from accessing ⁤political information that it ‌believes ⁣to be ‌dangerous. All of⁢ these ⁣considerations must be taken​ into account when attempting to launch a successful‌ product in ⁢China.

Football ⁢Sponsorships

In​ an attempt to appeal to the Chinese market, ⁣Facebook formed a partnership ‍with ⁣Chinese ⁢football club Guangzhou⁢ Evergrande in June ‌2008.⁣ The ⁣collaboration ⁣was intended to give ‍Facebook ⁢ exposure ⁤ to⁣ the local fan base.⁣ To achieve this,⁤ the tech giant sponsored‌ the club’s home⁢ and away matches, as well ⁣as its ​promotional activities.​

This strategy was met ⁢with mixed reviews. Some thought it was ⁢a great idea, while‌ others argued it was a​ waste of time and money. It ‌certainly gave‍ Facebook ⁣exposure to ‍the ⁤right ⁣people, but⁣ it ‍wasn’t enough to overcome the government restrictions. ⁢It’s likely that the ‌sponsorships didn’t have a ‌huge effect on the Chinese internet market.

China Localization

In 2008,⁢ Facebook also⁣ undertook a localization strategy in order to better cater to​ the Chinese‍ population. This ‍involved⁤ translating key pieces of ⁤content into Simplified Chinese and offering Chinese users tailored incentives. This was designed to encourage⁣ users ‍to ⁣switch ‌over ‍from domestic ‌social⁣ media networks such ​as Weibo and Renren.

Facebook also launched ⁣Weimob, a localized Chinese-language site. ‌Unfortunately, it failed to ⁤gain significant traction. Weibo and⁤ Renren remain​ the two most popular social ⁢media⁤ platforms in China, signaling the⁣ difficulty in unravelling the Chinese market.


Since 2008, Facebook ⁣has​ continued to ⁣pursue a presence ⁤ in the Chinese market. ⁤However,‌ the Chinese government seems adamant in not allowing the tech giant to penetrate the local market. Hence, it is not certain that the company will be able to ⁢crack the Chinese market⁢ anytime soon. Even with the persistent attempts of Facebook, it is evident that there are ⁣multiple ⁤ways⁢ of making an entry ⁣into the Chinese market and it may take more than just football sponsorships and localized Chinese websites to make it happen.