Breaking the Precedents, Facebook Quietly Launched an App in China

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Instead, Colorful Balloons links to those who have a WeChat account, China's biggest social platform.

The New York Times reports Facebook was behind the May launch of a Chinese app called Colorful Balloons, which lets users share pictures on social media. Released by a company named Youge Internet Technology, Colorful Balloons has not been reported in any form since The Times picked it up, and there's fear that China might now take notice and implement appropriate action. However, tech companies are incessantly striving to get into China. The Times says it illustrates the "desperation" of tech firms as they attempt - exhaustively - to break into China's online market.

Last month, in a crackdown on Internet services by the government, Apple had removed all major VPN apps from the App Store in China.

It's no secret how badly Facebook wants to take on the Chinese market.

"We have long said that we are interested in China, and are spending time understanding and learning more about the country in different ways", a spokesperson for Facebook told Reuters.

Facebook declined to comment on Zhang's relationship to the company, and Zhang did not respond to phone calls requesting comment.

And Colorful Balloon is the only app listed under the developer. The app looks eerily similar to the company's Moments app.

The app, which is created to collate photos from a smartphone's photo albums and then share them, does so in China with the use of a QR code, a sort of bar code that is widely used by WeChat and other apps in the country. However, it seems like Facebook is trying to make sure the app doesn't spread photos widely, which could be a way to keep the project under the radar. But the Facebook name is nowhere to be seen.

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