Facebook launches Chinese language versions
Social networking platform Facebook has launched a Chinese-language version of its site in Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese (Hong Kong and Taiwan version). For the moment all servers are still hosted in the US and apart from the language no further localization to Chinese user needs have been identified.
As opposed to its competitor Myspace, who set-up operations in China last year incl. local server hosting and an official ICP licence, Facebook has obviousely not chosen to go the whole hog. It's questionable if this move is likely to attract significant attention from China mailand users who will rather prefer to stick with established Chinese social networks or rising stars such as Facebook clone Xiaonei. Additionally it puts the company under risk of being blocked by the Great Chinese Firewall should user generated content not be compliant with local Chinese regulations.
We estimate that Facebook and its investors do not want to risk their ongoing (yet slightly declining) world wide hype to be spoiled by a failed expansion to China and rather take it step by step. Whether this was a wise move remains to be proven. We've got our popcorn ready and are looking forward to the next episode.