Social media giant Facebook is reportedly setting up a new engineering team in Singapore to focus on the extremely profitable mainland China advertising market.
Reuters reports that social media giant Facebook is establishing a new engineering team in Singapore as the firm attempts to focus on the lucrative China advertising business. The company continues to attempt to gain a foothold in the Chinese market despite Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s criticism of China which blocks Facebook in the country.
Facebook’s Asia-Pacific headquarters works on developing ad-buying tools for Chinese customers who have to work around China’s restrictive Internet rules known as the “great firewall.” One individual with knowledge of the situation stated that the move is Facebook’s first significant attempt to develop regionally localized advertising tools outside of its headquarters in Silicon Valley.
Facebook stated that the new team has an “Asia-first” mission which consists of both product and “business integrity” sub-teams. A spokesperson stated that the team would serve “Asia as well as our global advertisers.” Facebook sells over $5 billion of advertising a year to Chinese businesses and government agencies which are attempting to spread their messages outside of China. This makes China Facebook’s highest revenue-generating country for advertising outside of the United States, bringing in $24.1 billion in advertising sales in 2018.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously expressed his hope that Facebook would one day be accessible in China, visiting the country in 2016 where he vowed to learn Mandarin. Previously Facebook has sent product managers on “knowledge-exchange” trips to China to discuss app features and advertising tools with Chinese companies such as Tencent and Alibaba.
But as the Chinese government becomes even more restrictive in its internet policies, Facebook has appeared to discard any hopes of the social media platform becoming available in the country. Instead, Facebook has realized that Chinese companies must operate beyond the government’s “great firewall” in order to grow and is positioning itself as the main point of contact to worldwide markets for them.
Facebook wrote on the Chinese social media network WeChat in November: “Facebook is committed to becoming the best marketing platform for Chinese companies going abroad.”
Read more at Reuters here.