Facebook has signed a deal with search engine Baidu to launch a Chinese Web site, reports out of the country claim.
According to Sohu News (translated page), which cited anonymous sources, the two companies will deliver a new site that is not running on or connected to Facebook.com. The report didn't say how Baidu would come into play, but given that company's reach--it operates the most popular search engine in China--it could help the new site get off the ground quite quickly.
Even so, Facebook's reported move into China would be quite interesting. Currently, the social network, along with Twitter and YouTube, is blocked in China because of the country's censorship regulations.
This isn't the first time that reports have been swirling about the possibility of Facebook jumping into the Chinese market. Back in 2007, reports claimed Facebook was trying to buy Chinese social network, Zhanzuo. The company denied the claim at the time. Later that year, Facebook acquired a Chinese domain name, which due to censorship issues, has not been put into use.
Rumors of this latest deal first started cropping up last week when reports surfaced saying that Facebook was in talks with companies in China. At the time, the social network told Bloomberg that China is very much on its radar but wouldn't confirm any potential deal.
"We are currently studying and learning about China, as part of evaluating any possible approaches that could benefit our users, developers and advertisers," a Facebook spokesperson told Bloomberg last week.