Zuckerberg Uses Chinese to Tell Chinese He’s Hiring

Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg told students at one of China’s top universities -- in Mandarin -- that the company is looking to employ the country’s best engineers.

Facebook hired more than 20 students in China last month, Zuckerberg told an audience at Tsinghua University yesterday. He was cheered for speaking to the students in Chinese.

Zuckerberg, whose company’s website has been blocked in China since 2009, was named to the advisory board for Tsinghua’s School of Economics and Management. Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, is seeking to build up its business in China through a Hong Kong office selling online ads to companies that want to reach international users. The company leased space in Beijing this year to expand the effort, according to people familiar with the matter.

“We are already in China, we are helping Chinese companies increase customers overseas,” Zuckerberg said in Chinese. “We also want to help other countries in the world to connect with China.”

Zuckerberg said he has been in China four times and traveled to Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Tianjin. He said Chinese phonemaker Xiaomi Corp. is a trustworthy company that’s developing fast, and that he has had meals with its founder, Lei Jun. Xiaomi is the biggest smartphone vendor in the world’s biggest market.

Facebook is unlikely to win access to Chinese users anytime soon, regulators said in September. Still, Asia is a huge potential growth market for Facebook, with the company’s user base rising faster than in the U.S. and Canada. Some Chinese users access the social network via virtual private networks that allow them to evade government controls on the Internet.

Zuckerberg’s visit overlapped with that of Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook. He discussed protecting user data during talks with Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Oct. 22. Cook also toured a Foxconn Technology Group factory in Zhengzhou, where the iPhone 6 is made.

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