According to News Media Age (nma.co.uk Dec,4) Facebook has sold $60 (£29m) stake to Hong Kong billionare Li Ka-shing, who was also behind mobile network 3.

The deal, accounting for 0.4% of the company, marks the second stake to be sold in Facebook. Microsoft bought a 1.6% share in the company for $240m (£117m) in October this year. The move will fuel speculation that Facebook is looking to break into the Chinese ad market because Ka-shing’s Hong Kong-based media company TOM Group operates in this market….

More… Plus last month Facebook reportedly offered $85m (£41m) to acquire Chinese social network Zhanzuo, which has over 7m members.

Facebook is now said to be worth $15bn (£7.3bn). Now it seems that the gossip referring to the possibility of Chinese version of Facebook, namely facebook.cn, are again confirmed. China’s market is booming big time and as such China is the second largest internet market after the United States. The last few weeks or so have had quite a bit of news from China.

There has been mixed reaction from experts about Facebook’s plans. One of the comment in Techcrunch says, ‘Although things are changing (towards western country), especially in big city, I am afraid it is still not a proper time for a site, like Facebook to become popular.’ Another internet analyst, a new media expert thinks the same. It might be because of strict norms or past incidents which caused problems for Yahoo in China. The bottom line is “There has been no successful foreign acquisition in China.”

Still, someone will argue it’s likely that the Chinese Facebook will be censored the same way all other Web2.0 services are censored in China. Everyone of us can clearly remember the awful examples of Yahoo.cn and Google.cn, but, to me, another barrier of Facebook’s access to PRC probably lies in the culture difference between China and occidental world.

I recently read a brainstorming article written by Hofstede. In it the author argued that the cultural background of a certain PC user inevitably produces influence on his or her usage of computer and this phenomenon adequately reflects the nationality and custom behind that user.

The Internet custom in China,to my certain knowledge, is to some degree quite different from that of western countries like UK or US. To the majority of Chinese, Internet is more an entertaining commodity or a bleak place of information riot than an effective platform for communication between man and man, man and government. In this respect, if Facebook didn’t want to follow the footprints of its predecessors, they should set their hands on how to change the way we Chinese use Internet. So strong and firm are the roots of our custom that normally speaking a Chinese guy will never apply his real name as his username, not to mention posting his private photos and diaries online. Notwithstanding the gradual change we saw, the whole picture has, I’m regretful to say, hardly changed since the launch of Internet in China a decade ago.

To sum up, Facebook is an international Web 2.0 platform aiming to break down the boundary between virtual space and reality but the native residents in PR China are 1.0 people.

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