Facebook tests photo-sharing app in China

In its latest attempt to have an indirect presence in China, Facebook has authorized a local company to launch a photo-sharing application in the country in May, a new report has claimed. To log into the new app the largest social network in China, WeChat, is used.

NYT unearthed the connection between Colourful Balloons and Moments after comparing the interface of both apps. Facebook released the app through a local company called Youge Internet Technology, without any hint of branding from the social media giant, and appears to have taken efforts to ensure that it doesn't spread widely. However, the executive director of the purported developer, Zhang Jingmei, has attended at least one crucial meeting between Facebook and Chinese officials - there's a real chance that she's a Facebook adviser or employee. In a statement provided to The Verge, Facebook said that it is "spending time understanding and learning more about the country in different ways". It is for this reason that thousands of companies including Facebook have been interested in penetrating deep into its markets. The most recent attack came when its messaging service WhatsApp was also partially blocked in the country. Zuckerberg had paid a number of visits to the country in recent years and even spent a year learning to speak Mandarin. In the process, the event highlighted the interests of Facebook, Apple Google and other companies, which still have their eye on the almost 700 million Internet users in the PRC. The Times describes the initiative as a way for Facebook to "see how Chinese users digitally share information with their friends or interact with their favorite social media platforms". It is unclear whether China's Internet regulators were aware of the app's existence.

Vanessa Coleman