The Chinese government backflips on Facebook registration after disagreements between local officials and the US’ national internet watchdog, by censoring the company’s 30 million-dollar Hangzhou subsidiary.
Hours after Facebook announced plans to open an ‘innovation hub’ in China, the government has reportedly withdrawn its approval of the social network.
Earlier this week, a Chinese business-registration website showed that Facebook — which has been blocked in China for a decade — had registered a subsidiary in the eastern city of Hangzhou.
A Facebook spokeswoman said on Tuesday the company was planning to open an innovation hub for Chinese developers and start-ups, similar to projects in Brazil, France, India and South Korea.
The same day, however, Facebook’s registration of its 30-million-dollar Hangzhou subsidiary was taken down from the central government website. State media reports about the innovation hub appear to have been censored.
A person familiar with the matter told the New York Times the Chinese government decided to withdraw Facebook’s registration due to disagreements between local officials and the national internet watchdog, the Cyberspace Administration of China.
The world’s largest social network has been blocked in China since 2009. Beijing also bans many other international websites including Google, Twitter, YouTube, news websites such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal as well as human rights websites documenting issues deemed sensitive by the Chinese government.
Google has more recently made inroads into the Chinese market by opening an artificial intelligence centre and launching a game.
Facebook also launched a photo-sharing app called Colorful Balloons in China last year, which was apparently not government-approved and was eventually taken down.
PS: If you’re more than a few years away from retirement, your job could be at risk of being automated. This free report details the changes ahead. And some steps you could take to ensure you — and your children — are well placed in the age of automation. Find out more here.
The Australian Tribune with DPA