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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is planning a second visit to China, as the world’s No 1 social networking company looks for the best way to expand into the country, according to ChinaDaily.com.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told a conference (Reuters Global Technology Summit) last week the company’s mission is to connect the whole world.

“And it’s impossible to think about connecting the whole world right now without also connecting China,” he was quoted saying.

China, the world’s largest Internet market by users, represents an attractive frontier for Facebook.

Zuckerberg visited the country in December and met with the heads of several Chinese Internet companies, including Baidu Inc, Sina Corp and Alibaba Corp.

However, China has proved hard to crack for Western internet companies. Last year Google Inc partially withdrew following a spat over online regulatory policies.

“Mark and I actually really agree on the importance of China,” Sandberg said.

Sandberg said the timing and the agenda of Zuckerberg’s return trip was undetermined, but that the Facebook co-founder, who is studying Chinese, would probably return this year.

“We don’t know exactly what he’d do, but certainly engagement is really important. Plus, Mark really likes tech entrepreneurs,” she said. “He likes meeting with them always, everywhere he goes.”

Facebook is expected to generate roughly USD$4 billion in advertising revenue in 2011, up from $1.86 billion a year earlier, according to market research firm eMarketer.

Some industry observers have speculated that Facebook could eventually begin serving ads on third-party sites, perhaps using its “like” buttons on websites as a vehicle for ads.

But Sandberg said no.

“We’re not working on an ad network right now. We have a lot of growth in our own inventory, our own pages,” she said.

Sandberg also described a public offering of Facebook shares as “inevitable,” though she declined to provide details on when Facebook expects to have an IPO.

“It’s a process that all companies go through. It’s an inevitable process for us, the next thing that happens,” she said. “People used to ask us if we were going to get sold. People have stopped asking that question – we’re not … No one is buying us, we’re going public.”

The comments came as LinkedIn, a social networking site for professionals, made its debut as a publicly traded company on Thursday, and saw shares more than double.

Sandberg said the LinkedIn IPO validated the importance of the business behind social networking. – Source: ChinaDaily.com.cn

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