In December, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg visited the People’s Republic on a vacation that reportedly included interviews with executives from China Mobile and Baidu, which controlled 30% of the Chinese search market during the first three quarters of 2010 — an estimated 120 million users. Google has a 10% share of the Chinese search market, or 40 million users.
Baidu CEO Robin Li previously told Sina that he is interested in partnering with Facebook to assist the company in expanding past Chinese borders. During Baidu’s fourth quarter earnings call, Li also said that the search engine would be developing social networking services, supposedly to challenge Chinese social kingpin Tencent.
Who better to help Baidu out than the world’s biggest social network — the one that’s dying to reach a billion users via China’s more than 400 million Internet users? For what it’s worth, Facebook opened an office in Hong Kong a few weeks ago.