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Facebook’s China innovation hub hits licensing roadblock

Published: July 30, 2018

The social network hasn’t climbed the country’s Great Firewall yet, a report says.

By Sean Keane | 30 Jul 2018

Facebook’s push into the Chinese market may have hit a bump, with government agencies saying it hasn’t been given a business license.

The social media giant’s plan to open an innovation hub in China was reported last week, but the legal status of the expansion remains uncertain, according to the Financial Times.

The Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s internet censor, told the paper that Facebook “contacted the relevant departments in Hangzhou,” but a business license hasn’t been issued.

Screenshots of the Facebook subsidiary’s registration in the city of Hangzhou, in the eastern Zhejiang province, reportedly vanished from the website of China’s National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System last week.

A worker at the city’s market supervision and administration bureau said was no record of the company’s registration nor any record of a cancellation in its internal database, the Financial Times reports.

Facebook, which is banned in China, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

With around 772 million users — more than double the entire population of the United States– China is the world’s biggest internet market. However, the country’s official censorship regulations have limited its people’s ability to communicate and access many international sites.

Aside from Facebook, Twitter is banned in China, while Apple and Google services are restricted.