A modified version of an academic essay. . .
Can Zuckerberg Bring Down “the Great Firewalls” of China?
In this very competitive age, when the Internet rules and a handful of technologies are available to the most of us, operating globally—is never an impossible task—especially, for a successful networking Website like Facebook (herein referred to as “FB”). However, for a communist country like China, those digital possibilities are still challenged by distance, also by the robust culture embedded to the Chinese people and their “ways” of doing business–and as reflected by their nation’s economy, and as critically and politically imposed by their government. Although it’s truly challenging, multinational companies like FB should never give up innovating ways to penetrate the globe and maximize their potentials.
Currently, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are banned in China. Although there are local social networking Sites, those three including Google, are struggling to get in.
On a personal note, I am not a huge fan of FB, neither of its thirty-one-year-old founder, Mark Zuckerberg. But being away from my families and friends: I could not help using FB to stay in touch with them. I am not completely into it, because of the many issues of privacy (as too much personal information is collected from us, users) and safety (against identity theft, predatory marketing and selling). Last, but not least, FB is over populated. In fact, according to the author of International Management, Helen Deresky,” . . .if Facebook is a country, it is the third largest nation (first is China; and, second is Russia).”
With the latter being said, and as an aspiring global manager: I understand why Zuckerberg seems relentless in his pursuit to “nail” his success as a Cyber mogul. Because I believe that his business agenda, is to ensure that every citizen of the Earth is truly connected globally, and that FB is accessible anywhere.
Is it bad, or too ambitious? Well, it depends to his critics’ opinions (and as influenced by their culture). But isn’t that’s the most rational business move for any multinational company; “. . .to approach global expansion; and to specifically address such approach,” (Randall 2015) by simply tailoring or customizing FB’s accessibility and overall presentation specifically suited for every nation and in accordance to culture and society?
In regards to tactics, one of Zuckerberg’s approaches is building relationships by making the site available in different languages. He also actively attends events, ceremonies and speaks before the Chinese audience. Furthermore, he (through FB) has been closely monitoring quality of media shared by anyone in the Site, so as not to offend anybody. And I believe, he’s really doing it right.
Because in reality, we do not know the exact circumstances of any of those disagreements between nations. And many wars and conflicts, are culturally rooted by religion and language. Perhaps if we are able to speak in the same “succinct” and simple language of the World Wide Web; and, at the same time, we can comprehend beyond our fellows’ words, perhaps we have good potentials to be better communicators. For whether we admit or not, many of us are somehow CQ (cultural intelligence) impoverished and/or insensitive–because it’s really not that easy. In fact, I used to be one. Although I learned the hard ways, I am glad I am now enlightened. For corrective steps are doable, and all that is needed, is conviction manifested by a strong will.
Nevertheless, and going back to FB, to improve its chance to penetrate China, Zuckerberg and his business managers should engage to the Five-Steps of the Negotiation Process:
- Relationship Building
- Exchange of Task-Related Information
- Concessions and Agreements
Moreover, FB should consider the issues that led to “Cultural Misunderstanding-The Danone-Wahaha Joint Venture in China Splits After Years,” of Legal Dispute,” (Deresky 2014). He should also pay attention to all cross-cultural negotiation variables (listed at page 156 of our textbook).
Indeed, Zuckerberg is truly ambitious, but as one of his critics, I appreciate his fierce beginning. I wish I have his valiant guts. I think it’s very humbling (not just lucrative) to be able to connect the world–for the culture and the language that enabled us to thrive, are the very same reasons behind most of the misunderstandings among nations and races. And FB are addressing all these burdens by continuously innovating ways in bridging cultural gaps
Finally, according to an academic article, Zuckerberg started “FB when he was 19, but because of his extraordinary beginning, everyone tends to underrate the role he has gone on to play,” says Silicon Valley eminence Peter Thiel, who himself has had an outsize role in the tech revolution. ‘Keeping the company relentlessly focused on the long-term future, he is the opposite of a quarter-to-quarter Wall Street CEO, and that’s why he deserves to be recognized as a great leader.’ We couldn’t have said it better ourselves,” (Colvin). All he has to add (to what he’s already doing), is to thoroughly and continuously create cultural profiles of the United States and China (to make a comprehensive side-by-side comparison) and enhance the likelihood of his success in bringing down the “great” firewalls of the latter. In addition, he should really persevere because Microsoft succeeded in getting in. The multinational company of Bill Gates “won” the Chinese by just customizing Bing.
To end, let’s reflect on the role of culture in the blogosphere. As blogging is not different to any global businesses–for we are speaking here, dealing here, and interacting here with our blogging friends coming from different cultures. But amid all challenges, this is our great chance to live more meaningful lives (and I can’t stress that enough). As this Web, is enabling us to give our views, to share our passions, but just as we have to be welcoming and respectful of those of others. A win-win situation is never far-fetch for anyone who has the will and would dare do it. Most importantly, it’s not so hard to listen or read deeper beyond the person’s words. For isn’t it ideal that we responsibly assess first our surroundings (and be considerate of everyone) by using all of our senses, before we even speak of our interpretation (that could sound more of a bias judgment)? Although we may not be able to touch in this virtual world, we still can talk with and listen to one another with compassion.
Colvin, G., & Volcker, P. (2015). Intrepid Guides for a Messy World. Fortune, 171(5), 75-95.
Deresky, Helen. International Management, 8th Edition. 2015
International Business. T, (0004, June). Google, Facebook and YouTube Outshine Others in Web Globalization. International Business Times.
Randall, Linda. Discussion Question 2: Facebook in China. 2015
Social Nets Engage in Global Expansion, Struggle. (Hotlines) (Brief article). (2007). AdWeek 48(36), 4.