Facebook is deepening its ties to China despite it being officially blocked in the country by establishing a local subsidiary with which to launch an innovation hub offering support to startups and developers.
One of a network of such hubs to be launched globally in recent months, with similar centres sprouting in France, Brazil and India, the Far East play was first revealed by Reuters who caught sight of a filing on China’s national Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System.
Confirming its intent, a Facebook representative told the news network: “We are interested in setting up an innovation hub in Zhejiang to support Chinese developers, innovators and startups.”
Facebook still employs hundreds in the country and has even launched an artificial intelligence lab as well as several novel apps including an AI drawing game and a file management tool.
Facebook was dealt a further blow last year when government censors blocked its WhatsApp messaging app leaving it scrabbling to find ways of circumventing the ban and establish a presence within the lucrative Chinese market.
Facebook has previously been accused of authoring a censorship tool for political content in a desperate bid to appease government censors.