Facebook Seems To Sneak App Into China In Unprecedented Move, Says Report

Facebook Seems To Sneak App Into China In Unprecedented Move, Says Report

Facebook might have just entered China's app store - but you'd never know it at first glance.

But that's much to the dismay of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who - despite having learned Mandarin and having made several trips there to negotiate - has seen no success in bringing its cache of marquee apps - Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and others - to China, seen as tightly controlled and often censored.

Paul Mozur of The New York Times recently unearthed the app Colourful Balloons in Apple's Chinese App Store and noticed how similar it looked to Facebook's existing photo sharing app, Moments.

The app, which is created to collate photos from a smartphone's photo albums and then share them, was released by a local company called Youge Internet Technology, which is registered to an address in eastern Beijing, without any hint of affiliation with Facebook.

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"We have long said that we are interested in China, and are spending time understanding and learning more about the country in different ways", a spokesperson for Facebook told Reuters. The under-the-table approach could cause Facebook new difficulties with Chinese government that has maintained strict oversight and control over foreign tech companies.

But like a lot of US companies, Facebook has had a hard time breaking through China's onerous digital censorship laws.

However, the company's documents used for registering it, listed a room number of its office that was not found amidst several small, shabby offices on the fourth floor of the building. She appeared in a photo taken at a meeting held between officials at Facebook and the government of Shanghai. Colorful Balloons instead links users through China's biggest social network, WeChat. The company is registered in Beijing and with no trace of affiliation with USA based Facebook.

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