Facebook discretely fields China photo-sharing app

Image Schiefelbein  AP  REX  Shutterstock

Facebook anonymously launched a new photo-sharing app in China in a new effort to make inroads in the world's most populous country.

Colorful Balloons looks and operates nearly exactly like the Moments app, except without any mention of Facebook, so much so that it could easily be considered a local clone.

The app, which is created to collate photos from a smartphone's photo albums and then share them, was released by a local company called Youge Internet Technology, which is registered to an address in eastern Beijing, without any hint of affiliation with Facebook. A person who knows about the plans of Facebook, Inc. said on the condition of anonymity, the tech giant released Colorful Balloons, a photo sharing application in China through a local tech company, Youge Internet Technology. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has courted Chinese officials for years, and even spent one year learning to speak Mandarin.

It was unclear if China's various internet regulators were aware of the app's existence, the Times said.

North Korea standoff wipes $1trn off global stocks
Macy's was down 9.7 percent after the company said its sales continued to decline in the second quarter. The Dow slumped by 1.1%, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 tumbled by 1.5% and 1.4%, respectively.

Facebook had to use audacious methods to circumvent the obstacles the Chinese government imposes.

China and its strict censorship laws have banned western internet media and social platforms like Twitter, Google, and especially Facebook, but the latter has recently managed to work its way through the country's "Great Firewall." How? Zhang's presence at such a high-level meeting indicated she is likely a Facebook adviser or employee. However, tech companies are incessantly striving to get into China. Colorful Balloons instead links users through China's biggest social network, WeChat.

It appears this was far more than a knockoff app, however.

The risk Facebook is taking with the new app is high. Coming just ahead of a key meeting of the Chinese Communist Party this autumn, the secretive release of Colorful Balloons could also undermine trust between the company and the Chinese government. It was released through a separate company without any hint of Facebook's affiliation.

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