Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is roaming countries these days to raise awareness about the importance of the Internet, his social networking website Facebook, while luring in more advertising partners. He recently stopped by China, a country where Facebook has been blocked since 2009 to show a dramatic display of his interest in the country when he talked in Mandarin for 30 minutes. He talked about social network’s future in the country, and why he learned Chinese among other things. Zuckerberg surprised the crowd with his Chinese language skills, which was immediately met with applauses and praises from assembled members and faculty members.
“Hello everyone. Thanks for coming,” he told the group. “I’m very glad to be in Beijing. I love this city. My Chinese is really a mess, but I study using Chinese every day.”, said Zuckerberg at the beginning of the conversation. “Perhaps I need practice,” he added, to laughter from the group.
When asked why he learned to speak Chinese, Zuckerberg said his wife Priscilla Chan’s family members speak Chinese. Chan’s grandmother speaks only Chinese. Zuckerberg said that she was “shocked” to listen him in Chinese when he told her that he wants to marry Ms. Chan. “China is a great country,” he said. By studying new language, it helps better understand the culture, he added. Zuckerberg also joined the advisory of Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management this week.
China has blocked Facebook over its concerns for free flow of information in the country that could lead to instability. When asked how Zuckerberg is taking the Facebook ban in China, Zuckerberg said that “we’re already in China!” “We help Chinese companies increase foreign customers, they use Facebook ads to find more customers,” he explained. He gave example of Chinese electronics giant Lenovo which uses Facebook to advertise in Indonesia. “We want to help other places in the world connect to China,” he said.
Zuckerberg also praised Chinese mobile manufacturer Xiaomi. “It’s a very innovative company. It has a quick development with different products. They’re very cheap,” he said.