With rumors swirling around that Facebook may finally enter China, it’s worth the perspective to take a step back and look at Facebook’s presence within Taiwan. Unlike China, Taiwan does not censor Facebook; as a result, Facebook has largely dominated the social networking space with Yahoo’s rival site Wretch.cc. In November 2010, clickz notes that Facebook has finally caught up with Wretch.cc in registered users at 8.61 million. In March 2011, Facebook attracted 9 million monthly active users according to SocialBakers, a Facebook monitoring site.
The extent to which Facebook has infiltrated to Taiwanese modern day culture is clear: above is a satiric animation of Facebook’s feud between Zuckerberg and Ceglia (Cegalia was Zuckerberg’s former employer and claims he owns 50% of Facebook). The video was produced by the popular Taiwanese animated news website, NMA.tv. Does the fact that the social networking giant has permeated throughout the Chinese-speaking population in Taiwan prove that Facebook can also find a market in China?
The Wall Street Journal notes that roughly 39% of the Taiwanese population have a Facebook account. The island boasts roughly 70% of Chinese-speaking Facebook users (with the rest coming from Hong Kong).
Aside from the statistics, what’s more interesting is Facebook’s impact on Taiwan’s social media culture. Last January, President Ma Ying-jeou opened a Facebook fan page along with other prominent political officials. Many Taiwanese citizens use Facebook as a means to promote social means or events. As noted earlier, it has even spawned curiosity from the Taiwanese into the politics surrounding Facebook with videos from NMA.tv.
In other words, Facebook has friend-ed Taiwan.
It’s up to China to analyze Facebook’s past development in Taiwan and decide for itself whether it wants to accept the social media mammoth’s friend request.