Monday, November 19, 2007

PaidContent: Facebook ‘Offers $85 Million’ For Chinese Social Net Zhanzuo: Report

"Facebook has offered $85 million for college social network Zhanzuo, buying its way in to the lucrative Chinese market, Britain’s The Times reports, without attributing a source. On the record, Facebook only said Zhanzuo CEO Jack Zhang and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg ”were acquainted but this did not mean that they intended to reach a deal”: “There could be more information by the end of the month”.
Look to last week’s Times report on the subject, however, and the story is build, not buy: Then, Facebook denied claims in the Chinese press it had made (and had rejected) an offer for Zhanzuo of “up to $100 million”, saying: “Facebook has no plans to acquire any company in China. In the coming months, internationalization of the Facebook website is priority and those efforts will support multiple markets around the world.” For his part, Zhanzuo’s Zhang said Facebook wouldn’t be a threat on his home turf.
Funded by Sequoia and Morningside, Zhanzuo claims over seven million users and appears to have courted a Facebook tie-up for a while - its about page makes a direct comparison. But a greater pretender to the throne is Xiaonei, with over eight million users (if their copycat design isn’t begging for Zuckerberg’s interest, I don’t know what is). China’s consumer-to-consumer market grew 16.4 percent to 12.29 billion RMB ($1.65 billion) in Q3, according to Analysys International.
Update: An “unnamed insider” tells Sina (NSDQ: SINA) (via PacificEpoch) Zhanzuo will, in fact, take second-round funding of $7.2 million at the end of the month - the round involving first-round backer Sequoia. So all very speculative so far. "

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