Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg visited the campus of China’s largest search engine Baidu on Monday, meeting with the company’s CEO Robin Li and other senior staff.
Baidu confirmed that Zuckerberg had made the visit, but it wouldn’t comment on what they were talking about. Photos on a Chinese microblog also showed Zuckerberg walking with Li.
Zuckerberg said he would be visiting China over the holidays, according to an interview with Time magazine. Zuckerberg’s girlfriend is Chinese and has family in the country. In another interview with the media, the Facebook CEO said he has a personal interest in China and even takes daily Chinese language lessons.
Facebook, however, is currently blocked in China, along with other popular U.S. sites such as YouTube and Twitter. China’s government routinely monitors and block websites for politically sensitive content. With Facebook blocked, other China-based social networking sites have grown in popularity among the nation’s Internet users.
China is one of the world’s major Internet markets, with 440 million users who browse the web, according to the Internet Society of China. It’s top search engine is Baidu, a Chinese company which holds a 73 percent share of the market, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International. Google is a distant second with a 21 percent share.
Zuckerberg and Li have met before at past conferences.