/// China’s Free-Trade Zone Could Be First Step to Facebook’s Continued Growth

September 24, 2013  |  All Things Digital

Facebook may have just caught a huge break in its continued quest to go truly global. Citing anonymous government sources, the South China Morning Post claims that the Chinese government plans to lift an Internet access ban within the Shanghai free-trade zone, potentially giving citizens the ability to visit sites such as Facebook, Twitter and the New York Times for the first time. If the move is indeed made by officials, it would be a landmark decision, considering the politically sensitive nature of the websites to the Chinese government. Traditionally, the state has kept a tight reign on the types of Internet access its citizens have been allowed access to, blocking, restricting access and often deleting posts from sites across the Web. Both Facebook and Twitter have been blocked in China since 2009. While the potential lifted ban would only be a first step, it would mark Facebook’s first true entry point into a market of more than 560 million Internet-connected users, according to China’s Web registry regulator CNNIC. If eventually given access to that mass of people, Facebook could drastically expand its user base, the growth of which has slowed in the recent past, due to its already massive market penetration at more than one billion users. Facebook and Twitter did not respond to requests for comment early Tuesday morning. For now, expectations should remain muted. The lifted ban, according to the Post, would initially be confined within the 18-square-mile zone of the Free Trade district, which was first established in July of this year

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China’s Free-Trade Zone Could Be First Step to Facebook’s Continued Growth

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