Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s social network is blocked in China, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg is moving quickly to sweet talk his company’s way into the country. He’s been reading Chinese President Xi Jinping’s book The Governance of China and snapping up copies to give to his employees.
Facebook targets China
Chinese state media reports (spotted by Quartz) indicate that Lu Wei, chief of the State Internet Information Office in China, toured Facebook’s offices recently. He reportedly saw the Chinese president’s book prominently displayed on the desk in Zuckerberg’s office, as evidenced by photos published by government media.
The Chinese media outlets also quote Zuckerberg as saying he bought more copies of the book for his colleagues because he “want[s] them to understand socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
Chinese officials have been blocking Facebook since 2009. With 640 million internet users, China holds a massive market the social network would do very well to tap into. If Facebook is successful in reentering the Chinese market, it would give its advertising revenue yet another book.
What can Facebook workers learn about China?
According to Quartz, it’s unclear exactly what any Facebook employee might learn about modern China from reading Xi’s book. A website describing the book calls it a compilation of his works from between November 2012 and June 2014. The book features speeches, interviews, correspondence and instructions. The book appears to be a collection of propaganda rather than a collection of information readers might use in studying modern China.
However, the book has been published in ten different languages, and many reviewers have raved about it. Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt called it “an inspirational piece of work.” Chinese state media stated that Xi’s book is “captivating” audiences around the globe.
Zuckerberg’s recommendation of Xi’s book isn’t the only way he is attempting to charm Chinese lawmakers into letting his company back into China. Facebook also recently opened offices in Beijing, and Zuckerberg has been working on his Mandarin as a way to impress Chinese officials.