Facebook discretely fields China photo-sharing app

Facebook allows Moments-like app to be launched in China

Breaking the Precedents, Facebook Quietly Launched an App in China

Facebook might have just entered China's app store - but you'd never know it at first glance. Previously, the Chinese government blocked a number of products from Facebook, Inc.by dint of its Nazi internet policy.

Paul Mozur of The New York Times recently unearthed the app Colourful Balloons in Apple's Chinese App Store and noticed how similar it looked to Facebook's existing photo sharing app, Moments.

The social media company was apparently able to penetrate the usually impervious Chinese market by using a local company to release the photo-sharing app known as Colorful Balloons.

Facebook is interested in learning how apps win fans in China, without having a prominent company name associated with it. The covert, and perhaps creative, tactics conducted to achieve a long-sought goal exemplifies Facebook's (and the larger USA tech community's) desire to be accepted by China. The country boasts an audience of more than 700 million internet users who buy $750 billion of stuff online a year, but they are served by local tech companies that have developed their own way of doing business that can seem exotic to Silicon Valley.

The secretive approach of launching the app could cause additional difficulties for Facebook with the government of China that maintains strict oversight as well as control over tech companies outside China.

According to the documents, Youge's executive director is a woman named Zhang Jingmei.

The app has been created to collate photos from the photo albums of smartphones and share them.

While photos can be shared, Facebook appears to have taken steps to ensure the app could not spread widely. The government directed tech companies in July to block their users from accessing secure internet systems known as virtual private networks (VPNs). Even Colorful Balloons relies heavily on Chinese social platform WeChat to function.

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