Mark Zuckerberg has broken off a holiday in China to meet with the head of the country’s largest search provider Baidu.
Zuckerberg met Baidu chief executive Robin Li and took a tour of the facilities at its headquarters in Beijing before having lunch together, Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo told AFP.
"It makes sense – he is interested in the Chinese internet, he's made that very plain. Obviously this is one of the big dark spots for Facebook because it is blocked here in China," Kuo said.
"He has had a long-standing interest in China. I'm sure he wants to get the advice of someone who knows the internet landscape well here."
Zuckerberg has been studying Mandarin before his visit with girlfriend Priscilla Chan, as he recently told a crowd at Stanford University.
"It's kind of a personal challenge this year, I'm taking an hour a day and I'm learning Chinese. I'm trying to understand the language, the culture, the mind set – it's just such an important part of the world," he said.
"How can you connect the whole world if you leave out a billion-six people?"
Facebook is blocked from China by the so-called Great Firewall but a link with China’s biggest search engine could be one way for the company to get access to Chinese markets. A key issue will be compromises over user data that the government demands from companies operating within Chinese borders.
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