Were Facebook's China Plans Really Confirmed?

More details about a possible partnership between Baidu and Facebook are circulating.

Rumors about a partnership between Facebook and Baidu have increased in volume earlier this month, but now some are calling the joint venture a done deal.

Numerous sources spoke off the record to Liz Gannes of All Things Digital, reportedly confirming an imminent agreement between China’s largest search engine and Facebook.

We want to see official confirmation on the record from Facebook, which has a policy of not commenting on matters of speculation. When the U.S. social network finalizes the details of any partnership with Baidu, a press release will declare the correct details.

Meanwhile, Gannes has the following to say about the partnership:

Under discussions now taking place, sources said Facebook’s proposed plan could have Facebook and Baidu share the cost of setting up servers in China, and share revenue from the local version of the site. The local partner, Baidu, would presumably manage the censoring of the site and ongoing dealings with Chinese authorities. … when users outside China opt to connect to those inside China, they would see a warning message about the Chinese government.

Right now, the most significant discussion point surrounds connecting Chinese Facebook users to the global community, while protecting Chinese censorship measures.

In order to navigate the complicated landscape, Facebook is forging a partnership with Baidu, hoping that this can accelerate the company’s effort to enter the market.

As Facebook has experienced in other countries, large local competitors can greatly stunt the company’s efforts to expand its local user base quickly. So the social network is looking to enter before RenRen, and other Chinese social networks grow any larger.

Time is of the essence for Facebook’s mind, and it’s driving the company to forge a partnership as quickly as possible.

While the company has yet to develop the technology that will enable the complex filtering of content shared between the outside world and China, it appears as though Facebook is confident that it can be built in a timely manner. Ultimately, few other details were revealed in the latest report, but Liz Gannes makes it sound as though a Baidu partnership is relatively imminent.

Readers, what do you think about the likelihood that Facebook may partner with Baidu to enter China?