Just a week after he was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg met with the chief executive of China’s biggest search engine, Baidu, in Beijing. Zuckerberg, the second youngest person to be honored with Time’s Person of the Year title, explained his interest in China: “ How can you connect the world if you leave out a billion-six people?”
Zuckerberg met with Baidu chief Robin Li on Monday and toured the company’s offices in Beijing then had lunch together. A Baidu spokesman said Zuckerberg’s visit makes sense because he has made his interest in the Chinese internet very clear. Kaisu Kuo said “He has had a longstanding interest in China. I’m sure he wants to get the advice of someone who knows the internet landscape well here”.
The Chinese government blocks social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, although many access them using virtual proxy networks. Beijing’s Great Firewall of China is a massive online censorship system that blocks websites considered sensitive or undesirable.
Zuckerberg clearly aims to enter the world’s biggest internet market of 420 million users. He recently told a Stanford University audience he is studying Chinese for one hour every day. “I’m trying to understand the language, the culture, the mindset – it’s such an important part of the world” he said.