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11:57 am HKT
Oct 23, 2014

Technology

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Holds Q&A Session in Chinese

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    Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg impressed a Chinese audience at Tsinghua University in Beijing on Wednesday by delivering a speech and a Q&A session entirely in Chinese.

    Though he frequently paused when speaking and made some grammatical mistakes, Mr. Zuckerberg won praises across China for speaking entirely in Chinese during the session, which he was attending after being named to Tsinghua’s School of Economics and Management’s advisory board.

    “I think joining the board is a very good chance to support education in China,” said Mr. Zuckerberg, who is on a trip across Asia to promote bringing the Internet to more people.

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    “The Internet creates job opportunities and promotes economic development,” he said.

    Mr. Zuckerberg, who told the Tsinghua audience that he has been to China for four times and has visited major cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou, said he wanted to learn Chinese so he could better communicate with the family of his wife, who is Chinese American.

    Mr. Zuckerberg had obviously done his homework on Chinese culture: Rather than citing the usual kung fu clichés like Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan, he expressed his admiration for Huo Yuanjia, a Chinese martial artist once played by Jet Li in a 2006 film.

    “I love Chinese culture very much. China is a great country,” Mr. Zuckerberg told the audience.

    When asked about innovation in China, Mr. Zuckerberg spoke highly of Chinese tech brands like Xiaomi and Tencent.

    “Xiaomi is a very innovative company. They have developed really fast…Tencent’s WeChat is big too, and Taobao creates job opportunities.”

    On Tuesday, Mr. Zuckerberg dined with Lei Jun, CEO of Chinese mobile phone maker Xiaomi.

    Despite his newly acquired language skills, Mr. Zuckerberg’s company still faces major hurdles in China. Facebook has been blocked here for years, leaving the company on the sidelines amid a major social-media revolution that has given rise in the country to homegrown platforms such as Weibo and Tencent’s WeChat mobile-messaging service.

    Mr. Zuckerberg dodged questions on the issue, saying only, “We are already in China. We are helping Chinese companies to increase their overseas clients via advertisements on Facebook.

    “We want to help other places in the world to connect to China.”

    –Yang Jie

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