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Facebook : Covertly Launches Mobile App in China

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08/12/2017 | 04:42am CET
By Deepa Seetharaman 

Facebook Inc. covertly launched a mobile app in China, in a shift from the social network's public campaign to woo Beijing officials who have blocked the social network.

In May, Facebook made its debut a photo-sharing app called Colorful Balloons in China under the name of a different company, according to a person familiar with the matter. The app was developed by Young LLC but doesn't advertise its affiliation with Facebook.

"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 Facebook spokeswoman said.

The New York Times first reported the app's connection to Facebook, whose services have been blocked on China's internet since 2009.

Facebook executives spent years publicly courted Chinese officials, hiring a well-connected China-policy expert and making Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg more visible.

He gave a 22-minute speech in Mandarin in 2015 and jogged through Tiananmen Square on a smoggy day in 2016. He also scored a high-profile board seat at Tsinghua University, one of China's top universities, to build inroads with government officials.

At one point, Mr. Zuckerberg directed Facebook engineers to work on a tool that would allow third-parties -- including governments like China -- to block content before it could be posted on Facebook, people familiar with the effort have said. Development of the tool sparked a debate among employees last summer, the people said.

More recently, Facebook's public outreach to Beijing has cooled off. Colorful Balloons suggests the social-media giant is undertaking a more subtle approach.

While the Facebook app can't be used in China, some of its other apps are available, including Layout and Boomerang, creative-tool apps built by Instagram, the photo-sharing app owned by Facebook. These apps don't need to communicate with a server to be used and haven't been blocked.

Write to Deepa Seetharaman at [email protected]

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Financials ($)
Sales 2018 55 224 M
EBIT 2018 24 999 M
Net income 2018 21 487 M
Finance 2018 49 906 M
Yield 2018 -
P/E ratio 2018 22,01
P/E ratio 2019 18,10
EV / Sales 2018 7,48x
EV / Sales 2019 5,62x
Capitalization 463 B
Duration : Period :
Facebook Technical Analysis Chart | FB | US30303M1027 | 4-Traders
Technical analysis trends FACEBOOK
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 44
Average target price 219 $
Spread / Average Target 37%
EPS Revisions
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Sheryl Kara Sandberg Chief Operating Officer & Director
David M. Wehner Chief Financial Officer
Michael Todd Schroepfer Chief Technology Officer
Atish Banerjea Chief Information Officer
Sector and Competitors
1st jan.Capitalization (M$)
FACEBOOK-6.56%463 028
TWITTER INC29.95%24 577
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LINE CORP-14.78%9 437
SINA CORP17.16%8 404
MIXI INC-21.58%2 976