Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg started a visit to China on Monday with a tour of the offices of the country’s top search engine, while his own social networking site remained blocked on the mainland, the Associated Press reports. Photos of Zuckerberg’s visit to Baidu Inc. were quickly posted online.
“Obviously I’m not going to deny what’s in the pictures,” Kaiser Kuo, Baidu’s director of international communications, told The Associated Press by telephone. Zuckerberg had lunch with Baidu CEO Robin Li, Kuo said, adding that he didn’t know what they talked about. He said the two had met before.
Not many in China are familiar with Facebook, but Zuckerberg is known for being Time magazine’s 2010 Person of the Year, according to Kuo. China censors internet content it deems politically sensitive and blocks many websites, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. But curiosity has been high about Zuckerberg’s visit to China and any possible business angles. Zuckerberg has expressed a business interest in China, saying during a speaking engagement in October, “How can you connect the whole world if you leave out 1.6 billion people?”