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Breaking the Precedents, Facebook Quietly Launched an App in China

12 August 2017

"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 representative said Friday in an email response to an AFP inquiry. App Colorful Balloons was released through a local company, without any hints on the connection with Facebook. It shares the look, function as well as feel of the Moments app from Facebook, showed a report in a national newspaper on Saturday.

China, the world's largest market by internet users, is an attractive but challenging region for internet companies. Nevertheless, Silicon Valley corporations barely get access to the Chinese market due to China's strict internet censorship policy.

Facebook has been formally forbidden in China since 2009, despite many attempts over the years by CEO Mark Zuckerberg to woo government officials.

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It is unclear whether China's internet regulators were aware of the app's existence.

As writes the edition, a hidden and anonymous a major foreign technology company in China is unprecedented.

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.

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Facebook had to use audacious methods to circumvent the obstacles the Chinese government imposes. Zhang's presence at such a high-level meeting indicated she is likely a Facebook adviser or employee. But the link does not work, meaning people have to seek out Colorful Balloons in an app store instead of grabbing it from their friends, which may limit its distribution.

Facebook did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation's request for comment by time of publication. The government directed tech companies in July to block their users from accessing secure internet systems known as virtual private networks (VPNs).

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Breaking the Precedents, Facebook Quietly Launched an App in China