Zuckerberg in China with Baidu’s Li: Two nerds comparing notes?

Facebook may have been blocked by government censors in China for the last 2 years but it appears that maybe Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, is trying to repair this situation as he is currently in China and has met up with Robin Li, the head of Baidu which is the biggest search engine in China.

The news spread quickly throughout Chinese social networking sites along with a grainy image of the two men and then reached the Internet further afield although Baidu’s director of international communications, Kaiser Kuo, keen to stop any speculation arising from the meeting said, “As far as I know, this was two nerds comparing notes,” according to Jonathan Watts of The Guardian.

It’s long been known that Zuckerberg intended to visit China and he’s even been learning Mandarin for the trip and he has certainly let it be known that he desires an expansion into China. Recently in a speech he said, “How can you connect the whole world if you leave out a billion people? Our theory is that if we can show that we as a western company can succeed in a place where no other country has, then we can start to figure out the right partnerships we would need to succeed in China on our terms.”

After the growing unease of late about the capability of China to manipulate Internet traffic and the well-documented issues between Google and China, Zuckerberg will be keen to avoid too much significance to his visit although if Facebook were to exist in China he would certainly have to accept it would have limitations. His meeting with Robin Li will lead to rumors about whether he plans to enlist the help of Baidu in order to get through the firewall of China.

David Pierson over on the Los Angeles Times sees a certain amount of irony in similarities between Zuckerberg and Chinese sensors, as both have been under fire for privacy violation. He also tells how the visit from Zuckerberg, recently named Time Person of the Year 2010, provoked witty posts such as,”We warmly welcome the founder of ‘404 NOT Found’ and ‘Mr. The Search Result Cannot be Displayed’ to visit China!” What are your thoughts on Zuckerberg’s visit to China? We’d welcome your comments on this.