Menu
WhatsApp deal gives Facebook a path to crowded China market

WhatsApp deal gives Facebook a path to crowded China market

Facebook has been blocked in China, but WhatsApp can still be downloaded

WhatsApp's Chinese language page.

WhatsApp's Chinese language page.

It might not have figured in Facebook's calculations, but its deal to buy WhatsApp may help the social networking giant get access to the Chinese market.

Unlike Facebook which is blocked in China, the main site of WhatsApp can be accessed in the country and the product is available for download.

Facebook has previously said it has been examining its entry into the Chinese market. But authorities in the nation control sensitive content on social networking sites, either through deleting user posts, or blocking access to the services.

This happened in July 2009 when China cut access to Facebook, after protests in the western part of the nation broke out into ethnic violence. Despite the government block, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg once said he was interested in expanding the company's presence in China. In 2010, he was even spotted visiting a few of China's biggest Internet firms, fueling speculation that his company was on the verge of setting up a joint venture in the country.

Since then, Facebook has yet to formally dip its toes into the Chinese market. The social network's potential to help users organize over political issues is a key reason why Chinese authorities have blocked the site, according to analysts.

The mobile instant messaging client WhatsApp, in contrast, hasn't met such scrutiny in China. The main reason is probably that the product isn't that popular in the nation.

The app has over 450 million monthly users across the world, and Facebook's CEO believes it will eventually reach the 1 billion users figure. But In China, it lags way behind WeChat, the dominant mobile app in the instant messaging space from Tencent.

The app, also known locally as Weixin, has over 270 million monthly active users, most of them in China. But WeChat isn't simply a messaging app, and has evolved into a social networking platform to host other services, according to analysts.

"Weixin is so well-established in China," said Mark Natkin, managing director for Marbridge Consulting. "It continues to gain strength as Tencent expands the platform into far beyond mobile instant messaging, but into e-commerce, e-payment, and gaming and a variety of other areas."

Other Chinese Internet firms are also getting into messaging apps. Last year, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group launched Laiwang, and China Telecom has partnered with a local Internet firm to roll out its own YiChat app. But even these more established Chinese companies are struggling to compete with WeChat, Natkin said.

"I think trying to enter and compete in China in the mobile instant messaging market would be very challenging," he added. In addition, Facebook would have to overcome any regulatory concerns Chinese authorities might have with the product, he said.

In November, a Chinese official said the government actually welcomed "Facebook-like sites" to do business in the country, but that they would have to follow relevant laws. This could include not circulating content that will threaten China's stability.


Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business issuesInternet-based applications and servicessocial networkingTencentmobileinternetMergers and acquisitionsFacebookmobile applications

Featured

Slideshows

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

The channel came together for another round of After Hours, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and partners descending on The Jefferson in Auckland. Photos by Maria Stefina.​

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours
Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Emerging start-up Consegna has officially launched its cloud offerings in the New Zealand market, through a kick-off event held at Seafarers Building in Auckland.​ Founded in June 2016, the Auckland-based business is backed by AWS and supported by a global team of cloud specialists, leveraging global managed services partnerships with Rackspace locally.

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland
Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honoured its top performing partners across the channel in Australia and New Zealand, recognising innovation and excellence on both sides of the Tasman. Revealed under the Vivid lights in Sydney, Intalock claimed the coveted Partner of the Year 2017 (Pacific) award, with Data#3 acknowledged for 12 months of strong growth across the market. Meanwhile, Datacom took home the New Zealand honours, with Global Storage and Insentra winning service provider and consulting awards respectively. Dicker Data was recognised as the standout distributor of the year, while Hitachi Data Systems claimed the alliance partner award. Photos by Bob Seary.

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners
Show Comments