Mark Zuckerberg cosies up to Baidu CEO

Facing a brick wall with his site being blocked in China, it seems as though Mark Zuckerberg is looking at other ways to crack the country.

According to reports in the Chinese press, the Facebook founder has met with the head honchos of China’s biggest search engine Baidu.

Zuckerberg and Baidu chief executive Robin Li cosied up and toured the company’s offices in Beijing before having a [candle lit?] lunch together in one of the firm’s “private dining halls”, Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo told AFP.

“It makes sense — he is interested in the Chinese Internet, he’s made that very plain. Obviously this is one of the big dark spots for Facebook because it is blocked here in China,” Kuo said.

“He has had a long-standing interest in China. I’m sure he wants to get the advice of someone who knows the internet landscape well here.”

Techeye, has known for a while that Zuckerberg was planning a Chinese holiday thanks to our Taiwanese correspondent who earlier this month hinted that the Facebook founder was taking a month long trip to the country – presumably to practice his newly learnt Mandarin, and to visit his girlfriend’s family.  

Of course Zuckerberg claims that his newly learnt language is all to do with the culture claiming that: “I’m trying to understand the language, the culture, the mindset — it’s just such an important part of the world.

“How can you connect the whole world if you leave out a billion-six?” he was reported as saying.

However, we’re more convinced that it’s all a ploy to sweet talk the government into making Facebook accessible or just in a bid to form partnerships with other big sites.

Beijing has set up a huge online censorship system sometimes dubbed the “Great Firewall of China” that aggressively blocks sites on topics considered sensitive.