Facebook secretly launches an app in China

Cupertino, California: Facebook Inc. quietly launched an app under a different name, finding a way to enter China’s internet users’ market.

The photo-sharing app, called Colorful Balloons, was released in May to help Facebook enter a market that was blocked since 2009, according to a source.
Facebook has said its goal is connecting the world, and it wouldn’t be possible without the world’s most populated country but declined to confirm the details, reports Bloomberg.

“We have long said that we are interested in China, and are spending time understanding and learning more about the country in different ways,” the company said.

It further added”: “Our focus right now is on helping Chinese businesses and developers expand to new markets outside China by using our ad platform.”

Facebook was eyeing over more than 700 million internet users in China for a long time, who currently use homegrown social networks including Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat.

Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has made repeated attempts to pursue Chinese authorities, he also learned Mandarin. He even posted a photo of himself jogging past Tiananmen Square last year that caused a stir on social media.

Chinese authorities have recently ramped up censorship of social media and messaging platforms, partially blocking Facebook-owned WhatsApp last month. Some users have relied on virtual private networks, a technology that allows users to route their data overseas, to get around the block — although the government has been cracking down on those tools too.