×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

China Reverses Facebook’s Planned Office Opening

The Chinese government appears to have shut down Facebook’s establishment of an office in Hangzhou, almost before it had got off the ground.

The New York Times reported that the company filing documents had been removed from the register of companies on Wednesday. Only two days earlier, photographs of the filing had circulated widely on Chinese social media. Media reports circulated on Tuesday, apparently corroborated by email conversations with the U.S. tech giant. Facebook did not reply to emailed inquiries from Variety.

The New York Times said that the removal of the documents reflected a disagreement between local officials in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province and the Cyberspace Administration of China, with the CAC, apparently, wanting better notification before the U.S. tech giant set up camp behind the so-called great Firewall.

The office had been described by Facebook as an innovation hub,similar to those it operates in other countries in Asia and Europe. The filing had  showed that it was wholly-owned by Facebook Hong Kong, which operates from outside mainland Chinese jurisdiction.

An alternate explanation for the reversal, is that Facebook has been caught up in part of the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, which began in earnest a few weeks ago when the White House imposed tariffs on $50 billion of goods imported from China. Thursday also saw the cancellation of the $44 billion proposed takeover of China’s NXP Semiconductor by the U.S.’s Qualcomm, after Chinese regulators failed to approve the deal.

Facebook has had a tough week. Its shares plunged 20%, wiping out $150 billion of valuation on Wednesday, after its reported second quarter revenues missed financial market forecasts.

Facebook’s main social media platform operations are blocked in China. So too is most functionality of the Facebook-owned messaging service Whatsapp. Local companies operating in the social media and messaging space are required to comply with China’s censorship regulations and provide access to regulators through servers located in the country.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Sully

    Georgia Attorney General Closes Probe of 'Sully' Tax Credits

    The Georgia attorney general’s office has closed a criminal investigation into Warner Bros.’ use of tax credits on the Clint Eastwood film “Sully,” after state revenue agents declined to pursue the case. The state prosecutor’s office opened a criminal probe two years ago, after a whistleblower alleged that the production had claimed more than $600,000 [...]

  • Spotify logo is presented on a

    Spotify VP Paul Vogel Talks Subscription Prices, Label Licenses, Podcasts

    The annual Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference gives representatives from major companies the opportunity to present to the investment community, and Paul Vogel, Spotify’s VP and head of financial planning & analysis, treasury and investor relations, spoke on the streaming giant’s behalf on Tuesday morning. While many of his comments were statements frequently heard in the [...]

  • Women in Animation Logo

    WIA Partners With Animation Mentor, Toon Boom to Expand Scholarship Program

    Women in Animation has partnered with Animation Mentor and Toon Boom to expand the organization’s WIA Scholarship Program with workshops and software packages. WIA scholarships are given to animation students with a financial need and who demonstrate talent and passion for animation that will lead to a promising career in the field. The Animation Mentor [...]

  • Def Jam, Astralwerks Launch Label Divisions

    Def Jam, Astralwerks Launch Label Divisions in South East Asia

    Universal Music Group today announced what it calls a significant expansion of its recorded music operations across South East Asia with the launch of two new label divisions: Def Jam South East Asia, to focus on the hip-hop scene within the region, and Astralwerks Asia, a label “with a true focus on nurturing talent within Asia across [...]

  • Bob Bakish Viacom CEO

    ViacomCBS Leaders Talk NFL Negotiations, Streaming Wars and Merger Focus

    Viacom and CBS aim to prosper in the streaming arena by covering both ends of the marketplace, blending Viacom’s focus on ad-supported platforms with CBS’ strong head start on subscribers for CBS All Access and Showtime. ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish and incoming ViacomCBS chief financial officer Christina Spade outlined the combined company’s vision for how [...]

  • Spotify

    Spotify Dismisses Amazon’s High-Definition Audio: ‘It’s Not a Big Differentiator’

    At the moment Amazon Music launched its new high-definition audio service on Tuesday morning, which it says offers the best streaming audio fidelity available, Spotify VP and head of investor relations Paul Vogel was speaking at Goldman Sachs’ Communicopia conference in Lower Manhattan. While Tidal and Deezer have long offered a high-fidelity service and Apple [...]

  • Randall Stephenson

    AT&T CEO Defends WarnerMedia Strategy, Addresses Activist Investor's Letter

    AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson defended the $85 billion deal for Time Warner as the right strategy for the company in response to criticism from an activist investor. Consumers are watching more content and more of that viewing is digital, so combining a telecommunications company like AT&T with a content powerhouse like WarnerMedia is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content