Facebook, the Palo Alto start-up that offers a social networking site popular on U.S college campuses, is facing the old China knock-off problem.
Pacific Epoch’s blog reports of a Chinese version Facebook, called Xiaonei.com, which has no relation to Facebook and is just a copy of the US site. Look at the comparisons. It is pretty ridiculous. Apparently, the Pacific Epoch folks, who we met while in Shanghai a couple of weeks ago, got the news from China Web2.0 Review, which even confirmed the fact that there is no relation from Xiaonei founder himself, Wang Xing. We messaged the Facebook folks last night about what they plan to do; still no answer.
UPDATE: First comment below suggests this could be bad karma because Facebook did the same thing to another company, or at least there was a claim that it did. We made a reference here to the suit (lower down) against Facebook from the company, but we don’t know the details or subsequent developments. Several months ago, when we asked Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg about it, he shrugged it off, saying the suit hadn’t really gone anywhere.
UPDATE II: Chris Kelly, Facebook’s general counsel, just got back to us, but didn’t really address the Chinese copycat site. He wanted to respond to our mention of the suit above. “The company’s statement is that we believe the lawsuit is completely without merit and we’re fighting it vigorously,” he said. “It was brought by some kids who were disappointed that Mark [Zuckerberg] didn’t want to work with them anymore. Mark was never paid anything by them, and there was never any formal connection between them.” He did say the case is still pending, “because of vagaries of the legal system. When you have a fact-based allegation it is incredibly hard to get dismissed. Anyone can file a suit claiming anything. It is one of those things that drags on, and wastes time and resources, even for bogus claims.”
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