Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) had a meeting with the head of the government agency responsible for regulating the Internet in China. The social network giant’s website in the country is not accessible.
Roles of Facebook in China
The head of the State Information Office of the Republic of China, Cai Mingzhai, met with Sandberg and discussed cooperation and the important roles of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) in helping Chinese companies expand their businesses in other countries. The Chinese regulator did not elaborate what type of cooperation was discussed during the meeting.
The Internet users in China cannot access Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s website since 2009. Users managed to circumvent the censorship of the government by using proxy services. Last year, the social network giant indicated that China has “substantial legal and regulatory complexities,” which prevents the company from entering the country. China has 591 million web users.
Sandberg’s book promotion
Aside from meeting Internet regulators in China, Sandberg is also promoting the Chinese version of her book, “Lean In.” In a message delivered to a crowd at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing, Sandberg praised China and emphasized that it has the ability to lead in the global push for equality.
Sandberg said, “I believe the time is right for change. I believe that China can lead. It is not just the sheer size of the country or your population. It’s not just your unbelievable economic growth that is the envy of the world. It’s that this society has very deep, deep roots. Parents invest in children. This is a country that understands that change needs to happen to make things better for the next generation.” She did not mention any topic regarding China’s censorship of the Internet.
Facebook’s plans for Chinese market
After delivering her message, some journalists tried to asked questions regarding the plan of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) in the Chinese market. However, Sandberg declined to answer questions. She said, “I’m not taking any questions.”
Bill Bishop, an independent technology industry consultant in Beijing, commented that he would be very surprised if Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) changed its position regarding the Internet regulations in the country. He said, “The reality is that to comply with Chinese laws and regulations, they would have to have limited or no contact with the rest of Facebook so what’s the competitive advantage? I think they’re kind of stuck.”