Facebook setup a subsidiary in China for censorship cracks

Tinuku - Facebook has setup a subsidiary in China with registered capital of $30 million, hinting that the U.S. firm may be ramping up its presence in the restrictive market where its social media sites remain blocked. The subsidiary is registered in Hangzhou, home of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, according to a filing approved on China’s National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System.

“We are interested in setting up an innovation hub in Zhejiang to support Chinese developers, innovators and start-ups,” a Facebook representative said.

Tinuku Facebook setup a subsidiary in China for censorship cracks

Facebook’s website remains banned in China, which strictly censors foreign news outlets, search engines and social media including content from Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google. Having a wholly foreign-owned enterprise in China does not change Facebook’s approach in the country, adding that it was still learning different approaches on what it takes to be in China.

Last year Facebook’s messaging app WhatsApp was also blocked in the run up to the country’s twice-a-decade congres, and it has remained mostly unavailable since. The filing listed Facebook Hongkong Ltd and no other entities as a shareholder. U.S. tech firms with blocked content are increasingly looking for new ways to enter the market without drawing the ire of regulators.

Google has several hundred staff in China and recently launched its own artificial intelligence (AI) lab. It has also tentatively launched several apps for the Chinese market in recent months, including an AI drawing game and file management app. Apple Inc has also heavily modified its app stores to fit Chinese censorship restrictions in the past year, removing hundreds of apps at the request of regulators.

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