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Mark Zuckerberg meets Chinese businessmen, but would Facebook ever take off in China?

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has spent the first few days of his winter break in China meeting the leaders of China’s top technology companies.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (l.) held a gong while celebrating with members of his staff after unveiling the company's new location services feature called "Places" during a news conference at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California in this August 18, 2010 file photo.

Robert Galbraith/Reuters/File

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Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and Time magazine’s Man of the Year 2010, does not spend his holidays in China like most visitors.

The terracotta warriors, it seems, can wait. Mr. Zuckerberg has spent the first few days of his winter break here meeting the leaders of China’s top technology companies, his girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, in tow.

Zuckerberg’s schedule has sparked widespread speculation that he has come to China, home to the world’s largest internet population, with business in mind. Facebook is blocked by government censors in China, and Zuckerberg’s stated goal of “making the world more open and connected” will be hard to realize if one quarter of the world’s population cannot get onto his site.

But it is not clear that Facebook would succeed in China as it has succeeded almost everywhere else in the world even if the company were allowed to operate here, some analysts say.

With nearly 100 Chinese social networking sites already operating, dominated by a handful of market leaders, “the market is very mature with a lot of good products that work well for Chinese consumers” says Bill Bishop, an internet investor in Beijing.

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