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David Wertime

Voices – Kai-Fu Lee Says Facebook Employees May Flee Post-IPO

Kaifu Lee

With Facebook making its initial public stock offering today, some Chinese netizens are reminded of the existence of a juicy social networking platform that is, unfortunately, blocked in their home country. As Tea Leaf Nation previously reported, many netizens would love to have a chance to create a Facebook profile and waste countless hours sharing articles, sharing pics, and trolling the news feed.

But what of Facebook’s future? Will many of its best employees fly the coop? Internet guru and frequent microblogger Kai-Fu Lee (@李开复) thinks so. 

“One high level manager said: Because there is a secondary market, employees could have sold their shares prior to the IPO, so he was not worried about an exodus. But I think a lot of employees felt that the [shares] would jump in value after an IPO, and they also hoped to experience the IPO. Google had a serious [personnel] exodus after its IPO. [At that time], the entrepreneurs most sought after by Silicon Valley VCs very quickly went from being Google people to Facebook people.” {{Chinese}}[[Chinese]]【Facebook上市后,员工会流失吗?】一位高管说:因为有secondary market,员工上市前就可以卖股票,想走的很在就可以卖光股票离开,所以不担心流失。但是我认为很多员工可能还是想上市后会大涨,而且希望体验一次上市。谷歌上市后流失严重。硅谷VC最追捧的创业者很快就会从谷歌人变成Facebook人。[[Chinese]]

Let’s assume Facebook manages to hold on to at least some of its best and brightest. What would Facebook need to succeed in China, should it ever be allowed to enter? Lee shared a series of suggestions he says he gave the social networking site a year and a half ago. It appears to involve significant compromises:

“1) First, bring in entrepreneurs and developers and provide them with exquisite support, helping them to develop a global FB platform for games and services [that can] in the future fight [for market share] within China and become a competitive advantage.

2) Found a research center to hire cream-of-the-crop young engineers.

3) Use the ‘licensed technology’ method to enter the China market, and license the platform to partners to operate legally.

4)  Choose partners with strong relationships with government and [service] operators.”{{Chin.}}[[Chin.]]【18月前给Facebook进中国的建议】没被采纳,就分享了:1)首先拉拢创业开发者,提供细腻支持,帮他们开发全球FB平台上的游戏+服务,未来转战国内,形成竞争优势,2)建立研发中心,雇顶尖的年轻工程师,3)用“授权技术”方式进入中国市场,全权交给合作伙伴合法运营,4)选择运营+政府关系强的伙伴。[[Chin.]]

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David Wertime

David is the co-founder and co-editor of Tea Leaf Nation. He first encountered China as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 2001 and has lived and worked in Fuling, Chongqing, Beijing, and Hong Kong. He is a ChinaFile fellow at the Asia Society and an associate fellow at the Truman National Security Project.