An industry source has claimed that Facebook is indeed planning to enter the China market, but as a social game developer rather than as an SNS platform provider.
Facebook is reportedly recruiting a general manager for its rumored Beijing office, who will be primarily responsible for establishing and managing a game development studio, which in turn will be tasked with producing high quality social games for the Western market.
One manager at a social game developer said that Facebook has always intended to enter the social game market. Zynga, the largest Facebook game developer, is estimated to be worth over USD 5 bln, earning USD 250 mln in revenue in 2009, and is expected to take in USD 500 mln in revenue this year. Zynga reportedly earns hundreds of thousands of USD each month in revenues on Facebook alone.
The industry source also reported that Facebook receives very little revenue from virtual items, but that Facebook is extremely interested in the virtual items market.
Social game developer Playfish established a game R&D office in Beijing in 2008, which reports to Playfish's offices in London and California regarding game planning and operations. Founder and CTO of game developer Rockyou, Jia Shen, announced that Rockyou will open a China office within the next six months, to engage in business including game distribution and advertising platforms.