UPDATED Again on April 9: Bloomberg now reports that Facebook is in exploratory talks with unnamed partners, but that nothing has been signed yet.
UPDATED April 9: Due to a Tweet from a highly credible source, China’s Internet is now echoing with unconfirmed rumors that Facebook signed an agreement with an unknown partner to enter China.
Overnight much has been written about the Facebook/China rumor, with speculation now focusing around a Baidu partnership. Bill Bishop added that Alibaba, Sohu and China Mobile were other possible partners.
Baidu, several people have noted, has not distinguished itself in social so far. Bill Bishop also Tweeted some well-needed skepticism: “don’t get 2 excited about a possible facebook deal for China. remember Myspace.cn w blue chip backers. a disaster here. long b4 us blew up”
WRITTEN APRIL 8: Hu Yan Ping, manager and founder of Internet research center DCCI, Tweeted on Sina Weibo an hour ago:
“Facebook really is about to enter China, the agreement is signed. A domestic website will work with Facebook to create a new site. This new site is not interlinked with Facebook.com. Will this live or die in China?”
In the first hour the Tweet received 500 retweets and 178 comments.
Among the initial speculative comments:
– Many said the the tie up will be with portal giant Sina.
– Some suggested the tie up will be with search giant Baidu.
– Some joked that Tencent had really bought Facebook.
In recent months Mark Zuckerberg has met with founders of China net giants Sina, Baidu and Alibaba. Opening a Facebook equivalent in China seems about the only way to enter a market where the government has such a strong say on how the Internet operates.
Who is Hu? According to a conference bio: “Yanping Hu has engaged in China Internet research since 1995 and was the Chief Editor of China Internet Weekly.”
What is DCCI?
DCCI, which stands for Data Center of China Internet, is an Internet research company that does Internet monitoring, interactive marketing, measurement, analysis, optimization services.
Anyone from Palo Alto have other details (or a confirmation)?