Banned since 2009 in China, Facebook has recently found another secret way to enter the huge market- via launching a an app under another name.
The app called Colouful Balloons was released in May in China which is similar to Facebook’s Moments application in function and feel, but does not carry the Facebook name, the Times said on Friday. Facebook also said its goal of connecting the world wouldn’t be possible without the world’s most populated country, but declined to confirm the details that were first reported by the New York Times.
“We have long said that we are interested in China, and are spending time understanding and learning more about the country in different ways,” the company said. “Our focus right now is on helping Chinese businesses and developers expand to new markets outside China by using our ad platform.”
The app was released in China by a company called Youge Internet Technology and without any hint that Facebook is affiliated with the company. Facebook has long eyed China’s more than 700 million internet users, who currently use home-grown social networks including Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat.
Western social media websites like Facebook and Twitter are blocked by China’s censors, which has helped drive up the popularity of home-grown messaging app WeChat, owned by Tencent and microblogging service Weibo. The Facebook owned Whatsapp is also partially blocked in the country, but some users have found a get around to that blocking by using VPNs to route their data overseas and make it work.
Zuckerberg in February all but ruled out an expansion in the world’s most populous country, saying there would be “no news at all in the near term.”