After releasing the Spanish, French and German versions of their site earlier this year, Facebook is has now introduced Russian, simple Chinese and traditional Chinese language versions of their site as part of its goal to unite different people together on a common online social platform, regardless of their location or the language they speak.
Still lagging behind MySpace, the world’s leading social networking site, and with this move to expand its services specifically targeting China – the world’s largest online market, Facebook will be hoping to match, if not exceed the popularity of its closest rival. Recent studies reveal that Facebook is growing at a faster rate and has in the past 2 months surged ahead of MySpace in terms of unique visitors.
Although a launch in the Chinese language has been on the cards for a while, Facebook also picked the right moment to capitalize on the immense amount of positive publicity generated in China following Premier Wen Jiabao’s debut on Facebook. In May 2008, Facebook users voted Jiabao as the 10th most popular politician.
Users accessing Facebook from China are taken to zh-cn.facebook.com. Now debuting in China, Facebook has plenty of challenges ahead, not least among them being the competition from local networks and China’s leading instant messaging service, Tencent.
With this Chinese launch, it becomes easier for online advertisers and internet marketers looking to make their mark in the Chinese market, to get directly in touch with their target audience. Facebook offers regional-specific ads that can even target a particular demographic. Previously this scope was limited as advertisers could only cater to the English speaking users of Facebook in China; however the market is now thrown wide open with the introduction of not one, but two Chinese languages.
It is estimated that over two-thirds of Facebook users come from outside the US. Facebook is using this knowledge to tap the potential for growth beyond the shores of its home country. As the latest studies indicate, it is only a matter of time before Facebook overtakes MySpace as the world’s top social networking site and this Chinese launch should only speed up that process.
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