A Friday report from Thomas Crampton — the Asia-Pacific director of digital influence at Ogilvy — cites a “highly credible source” who says Facebook has signed an agreement that may let it break through the great firewall of China.
Crampton translated a microblog post from from Hu Yan Ping, a former journalist and head of a respected Chinese Internet research center, which read:
“Facebook really is about to enter China, the agreement is signed. A domestic website will work with Facebook to create a new site. This new site is not interlinked with Facebook.com.Will this live or die in China?”
He did not specify which domestic site signed the agreement, but many are speculating it is either Web portal Sina or search giant Baidu.
The social network is currently blocked in China.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg visited China at the end of last year on a personal vacation and was seen at Baidu headquarters with chief executive Robin Li. That set off frantic rumors that the two companies were planning a partnership.
A report from Beijing’s Marbury Consulting says that industry sources have confirmed that Baidu will be working with Facebook on the new network.
There has been no official announcement on a deal between Facebook and any Chinese company.