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What Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg said in Mandarin that so impressed the Chinese

Michael Kan | Oct. 24, 2014
The Facebook CEO spoke in Mandarin for almost half an hour in a talk at a Chinese university on Wednesday.

On Facebook coming to China
The social networking site has been blocked in China since 2009, as part of the country's online censorship. Zuckerberg said Facebook has a growing business in the country by selling advertisements to Chinese companies.

"We are already in China. We help Chinese companies grow their international customers. They use Facebook ads to find new customers," he said. "For example, Lenovo is in Indonesia using Facebook ads to sell phones."

Zuckerberg's problems listening
Asked if his Chinese was better than that of his wife Priscilla, Zuckerberg said his listening skills were particularly poor. "My listening is very weak. One day, I asked her why is my listening in Chinese so bad. She told me, 'Your listening in English is also bad.'"

Facebook's upcoming goals

He pointed to three upcoming goals: connecting all of the world to the Internet, developing artificial intelligence, and creating more virtual reality products. Earlier this year, Facebook bought virtual reality headset maker Oculus VR for US$2 billion.

"Once everyone is using a mobile phone, I believe the next platform will be virtual reality. Oculus is the first product, but we hope to have many products," he said.

Following his talk, Internet users in China naturally asked when the Facebook website would enter the country. But Zuckerberg made no comment on it during the event. A Chinese official said he welcomed the site last year, but only if it followed the country's Internet regulations.

Not all of China's Internet users were quite as impressed with Zuckerberg's speech, with some commenting that he was hard to understand. But an Internet user named Lung Lei said most of what Zuckerberg said during his talk was spoken without any grammatical or usage mistakes, and he only need practice more on pronouncing his tones.

"Chinese is one of the hardest languages, but Zuckerberg is daring enough to take the challenge. Moreover, it's obvious he successfully overcame the challenge," he said. "By using China's mother language to communicate, I felt Zuckerberg was being more personal, and it pulled me in."

 

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