In a valiant attempt to get facebook unblocked in China, Mark Zuckerberg risked his health to go jogging in a smog filled day in Beijing. To get an idea of the type of pollution 30 million Beijing residents live through year round: Here is a link to a timelapse video
The social media executive was in the capital ahead of an economic forum that gives some of the world’s top business and finance leaders the opportunity to hobnob with senior Chinese politicians.In a picture posted to his Facebook account, Zuckerberg said it was “great to be back in Beijing”, adding that he had jogged through Tiananmen and to the Temple of Heaven.
The photo showed him running with a small group past the iconic image of Mao Zedong that hangs on the entrance to the Forbidden City. Neither Zuckerberg nor anyone in his party wore a mask, despite thick smog — also well-known by tourists to the city. Levels of PM2.5 — the smallest, most dangerous particulates — were above 300 micrograms per cubic metre in Beijing throughout the morning before the photo was posted, according to data from the US Embassy in the city. At that level — 12 times the World Health Organisation’s recommended maximum — the US embassy’s advice is: “Everyone should avoid all outdoor exertion.”
Seeking to crack the market of 1.3 billion+ potential users, he has sought to learn some mandarin and constantly sought the attention of Chinese leaders among other activities. Whoever Zuckerberg’s China handlers are, they are giving him very poor advice. Rather than all these shows adulation for China, Zuckerberg simply needs to get down to business, since the Chinese are a practical culture.
In order to get Facebook unblocked in China:
- Zuck needs to form a joint venture with a local web incumbent, maybe Baidu, the copycat of google in China. This would mean sharing profits locally.
- Zuck would have to set up a separate database in China, and open it up to the government.
- Facebook China would have to be able to censor comments deemed undesirable to the party’s interests.
- Build a prototype and demo it to the propoganda department, show them they have control.
- Lobby the right people all the way up to the 7 person politburo to allow the oriental version of facebook to go live.
If Zuckerberg could swallow all of the above conditions… THEN facebook has a real shot at the Chinese market….until then, this is just a waste of everyone’s time.
Zuckerberg often posts pictures of his running while travelling, but the photo was greeted with derision by some Chinese Internet users who are not allowed access to his company’s service.